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Vikings offer to pay for part of a new stadium

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Posted Jan. 12, 2011 @ 4:33 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

The Vikings say they are willing to pay for one-third of a new, outdoor stadium but won't help foot the bill to repair the Metrodome roof cost, even if Minnesota lawmakers insist a new roof is needed.

Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley, who is heading up the team's stadium issues, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the team wants to play in an outdoor stadium. But Bagley conceded that it might not gain approval by the state legislature when the matter of a new stadium, one that would be funded partly by the taxpayers, is brought to the table.

The Vikings' current facility, the Metrodome, suffered a collapsed roof in December following a massive snowfall prior to the team's game against the Giants. The game had to be postponed and moved to Detroit, and the Vikings' final home game was played at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

"A roof does not provide any benefit to the Vikings," Bagley told the AP. "It also costs a couple hundred million dollars more in capital costs, in addition to the operating costs that are much higher for a covered facility."

The Metrodome lease is scheduled to run out after the 2011 NFL season. Bagley referred to it as not being "a viable NFL facility" and urged lawmakers to act on approving a new stadium to prevent the Vikings from leaving the area.

Estimates for an outdoor facility run in the range of $700 million. If the stadium included a retractable roof, that would add another couple hundred million dollars.

Although adding a roof to the project would increase the cost for both the team and the taxpayers, it might be the difference between getting a deal done and not. The legislature would be far more likely to pass the bill if the new facility was — like the Metrodome — capable of hosting other events such as the Final Four, plus high school and other college athletic events.

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