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Friday, May 6, 2011
BBAO: Vikings stadium site deal 'close'

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

We're Black and Blue All Over:

What once seemed a long-shot destination for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium now might be the only site option the team has if it wants to move forward on its push for financing approval in 2011.

Dave Orrick of the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting the Vikings are close to an agreement with Ramsey County officials, who are offering a sprawling site in the eastern suburb of Arden Hills. The news comes as the state's largest local government, Hennepin County, officially passed on an opportunity to partner with the Vikings on a site known as the Farmers Market.

Ramsey County commissioner Rafael Ortego told the Pioneer Press the sides have agreed on most issues and are hashing through the road enhancements that would be necessary to make the site work. That infrastructure was once believed to be cost-prohibitive, but the Pioneer Press reports the estimates have dropped considerably.

The Vikings are still negotiating with the city of Minneapolis, which is offering the current Metrodome site, but the city can't offer more than $10 million in local contribution. Ramsey County officials have said it could provide roughly a third of a project that could cost at least $900 million.

Mike Opat, the Hennepin County board chairman, told Gov. Mark Dayton that the county couldn't participate in the stadium because of proposed local funding cuts that will require him to reallocate funds.

Wherever they propose the stadium be built, it's clear the Vikings need site certainty before the state legislature considers their bill.

Continuing around the NFC North: