Vikings, Ramsey County Join In Stadium Annoucement

Artist drawign of Arden Hills stadium

The Minnesota Vikings married Ramsey County this afternoon and plan their honeymoon on a former ammunition-making site.

The Vikings and county officials called an afternoon news conference to make the announcement about where they hope to build a new professional football stadium.

Team Owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf and Ramsey County officials were to be joined by former Coach Bud Grant, current Coach Leslie Frazier and legendary player Jim Marshall.

The announcement comes a day after Minneapolis presented an offer for a nearly $1 billion stadium. The Vikings said they did not like that plan.

Legislative approval is needed before a stadium can be built, in a large part because the state would borrow money to help finance stadium construction, to be repaid by new sports-related taxes and other fees.

Gov. Mark Dayton today announced that up to $240 million would be needed to improve roads and other infrastructure around Ramsey County’s Arden Hills site if a stadium is built there.

Since Dayton has put a $300 million state funding limit on a stadium, the Arden Hills site would have little other money available from tax increases and other state funds.

While Dayton pointed out the high road costs, he remained open to the Ramsey County site.

“I will support either project up to $300 million state participation,” Dayton told reporters.

The biggest question, now that the Vikings have picked a site, is whether the Legislature can approve a stadium before it adjourns May 23.

“I think it is very possible and very doable,” Dayton said. “I also think it is possible that it won’t.”

Legislative leaders have said they want to emphasize fixing the state’s budget problem, which is not close.

No legislative committees have heard stadium bills introduced by Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont.