How badly do the owners of the Minnesota Vikings want to stay in Minnesota? We'll find out in the near future.
A plan to build a new stadium for the NFL team has cleared the Minnesota Senate and House, but not without changes. Vikings officials have been insistant that the team's and private contributions toward the $975 million stadium will be no more than $427 million. The remainder would be publicly funded, with the state paying $398 million and the city of Minneapolis contributing $150 million by redirecting an existing hospitality tax. But Minnesota lawmakers are now demanding that the private portion of the funding be boosted, perhaps as much as $105 million higher.
Negotiators will work out the differences between the bills approved by the House and Senate, and then it will be up to the Vikings to decide: Are they willing to pay more for a stadium?
Vikings officials have been adamant that $427 million is their limit, but are they willing to scuttle all of the work done over the past years? If they balk at the increased cost share, will lawmakers back down? There's already been rumors of the team moving to Los Angeles if a stadium deal can't be worked out, and those rumors will grow if the team refuses to kick in more money.
The state of Minnesota has essentially handed the ball back to the Vikings. After negotiations on the House and Senate bills, the team will have a choice to make. We suspect the Vikings ownership will somehow come up with the extra money to keep the team in Minnesota.