Commissioners vote to open stadium talks with Vikings

Posted Feb. 15, 2011 @ 5:21 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

The process of replacing the aging Metrodome took a step forward when a county board voted to open talks with the Vikings and state lawmakers about a new stadium.

The proposed location for the new facility would be in Arden Hills, Minn., a suburb northeast of Minneapolis, and the site would be a former Army ammunition plant.

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners' vote of 6-1 in favor of stadium talks represents the first step locally by any group looking to host a new stadium. The Vikings plan to take the issue up with the state legislature to help raise funds for a new building.

Vikings officials have lamented the condition of the Metrodome, which suffered a collapsed roof this past season, saying it is outdated. The facility generated the least revenue of any of the 32 NFL teams' stadiums.

Team executives reportedly have surveyed the proposed site. Vikings vice president Lester Bagley, who has overseen much of the process of finding a new stadium, praised Tuesday's vote as a step in the right direction.

A new stadium could cost upward of $700 million, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he would like to see the team foot at least half of the bill. The Vikings are thought to want a state-financed package where the team only pays about one-third of the cost.

The Vikings' lease with the Metrodome ends after the completion of the 2011 season, and team officials have vowed not to play in the facility after that.