Thursday, as has been widely reported, the Minnesota Senate approved funding for a new Vikings stadium, by a margin of 36-30. This legislation clears the way for the team and the state of Minnesota to build a $975 million, multi-purpose facility on the current Metrodome site, in downtown Minneapolis. After more than 10 years of battle between city, state and team officials, the deal finally got done.
The economic breakdown is as follows.
The Vikings will pay $477 million, the state contribution will be $348 million and the city of Minneapolis will provide $150 million.
The seemingly endless stadium debate was such a polarizing issue amongst all parties, including the fans. While many citizens supported building a new venue, many people were against it, with some even going as far as saying that they would not care if the team moved to Los Angeles.
In the last few months, the debate really heated up and with the Vikings lease expiring after the 2012 season, something needed to get done. Many Vikings fans have taken matters into their own hands, attending rallies throughout the area, while also spending time at the state capitol building in St. Paul.
Last Saturday, one of the most noteworthy public events took place at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Ironically, the mall sits right on top of where Metropolitan Stadium (the Vikings home field from 1961-81) once stood.
The keynote speakers were Gov. Mark Dayton (D) and Vikings All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen.
Per the above iFolloSports.com original video, Dayton and Allen motivated a large crowd of fans at the Mall of America’s Sears court. The two were accompanied by other stadium supporters, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak (D) and state Senator Julie Rosen (R).
Dayton, a fervent new stadium advocate, introduced the star defensive player, while also speaking about where he believes Allen and the Vikings should always call home.
“He (Allen) is a Minnesota Viking. I don’t want him called a Los Angeles Viking, or Tucson Viking, or Vancouver Viking. For the rest of his career and for the rest of my lifetime, I want this to be the Minnesota Vikings,” exclaimed the governor.
Allen then took the mic and expressed his love for Minnesota fans and the importance of contacting one’s elected officials, in support of a new Viking stadium.
“We have the greatest fans in the NFL and you guys deserve a cooler place to watch the Vikings play football. The dome (Mall of America Field) right now is not that place,” said Allen.
“You guys have a voice, call your representative, let them know how you feel. You guys are the taxpayers, call and tell them what you want,” further explained the 2011 NFL league leader in sacks.
Two days later, the Minnesota house passed the legislation, with the senate doing the very same three days after that.
Without question, rallies, like last Saturday’s, were a big reason the stadium situation finally came to a positive resolution for fans of pro football in Minnesota.