NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed the Vikings’ quest for a new stadium at his annual state of the league address today at the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla. The Vikings are hoping to get the issue before the legislature in the upcoming session, although that will be difficult given the current economic climate. Nonetheless, a failure to act will result in plenty of talk about the Vikings relocating after their Metrodome lease expires in 2011.
“I know Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf want to continue to have the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota in a new stadium and I share that,” Goodell said. “They have worked very hard to be able to get to that point. They have understood the priorities of the community, they have stood by and they’ve allowed the baseball stadium and the Gophers [football] stadium to move forward because they recognize those priorities and there are always priorities in the community.
“I think we have to continue to work with the governor and the leadership in that community to understand those priorities and figure out how we get a new stadium built. That is necessary for the Vikings. We all want the Vikings to be there in the long term, successfully. They need a new stadium, that’s clear. I think it’s recognized by all parties and we need to get down to the difficult business of figuring out how to do it.”
There has been talk of the Vikings potentially ending up at a proposed stadium in Industry, Calif., that would be built by billionaire Ed Roski, Jr. Vikings ownership declined a request from Roski to talk about the situation last summer and to date Zygi Wilf has said his goal is to get a new stadium on the site of the Metrodome.
The Vikings didn’t get much reason for hope that they will get any public help in a Star Tribune article on the situation this month. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said a stadium, “Certainly will not be a high priority,” adding, “We have a fiscal and job crisis in Minnesota.”
The legislature will be working with Gov. Tim Pawlenty on erasing a $4.8 billion budget deficit.
Although the exact financial figures have yet to be set, estimates to date have been that a Vikings stadium would cost about $954 million. Wilf has said the ownership group would contribute $250 million toward the project.