“We’re here to stay.”
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said these words from the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol on Wednesday, a statement that was received by cheers and high fives from fans that had gathered to celebrate what seems like a certain win in the Vikings stadium battle.
After clearing the State House and the State Senate, all that remains for the stadium bill is a stroke of the Governor’s pen and a final vote by the Minneapolis City Counsel. The Governor has always supported the stadium bill, and Minneapolis appears to not be a problem.
After years of speculation and concern, it seems that the Los Angeles market is going to have to target a different NFL team, and the Wilf’s never even had to publically threaten to leave.
“We knew from day one that we were going to fight to ensure that this day would come,” Zygi Wilf said. “Our commitment to having Viking football here for generations was always the overriding factor.”
The end result of a decade’s worth of positioning (and then some) is a deal that will see the Vikings and NFL contribute $477 million, the State will contribute $348 million, and the City of Minneapolis will pick up the rest of the tab which comes in at $150 million.
The Vikings are expected to play the next two seasons in the Metrodome, but have already come to an agreement with the University of Minnesota to rent TCF Bank Stadium at a price of $250,000 per game while the Metrodome is demolished and the new stadium is finished.
It is expected that the new stadium, which does not yet have a name (any suggestions?), will be ready in time for the 2016 season.
That means that I have at least another four years of writing stadium articles, but these future ones are sure to be a lot more fun than the “will-they-won’t-they” articles we have all been scouring over for what seems like forever now.
“This will be truly special,” Mark Wilf said. “As hard as we’ve worked for this day, we will commit going forward that this will be first class and special, and something that all Minnesotans can be truly proud of.”
I am aware that this isn’t done, at least not in the true sense of the word, but the Wilfs’ willingness to celebrate this as a true victory sure is exciting.
I suddenly have a new found excitement for the upcoming season, that is for sure.