Thursday, August 15, 2013
What does Vikings' stadium delay mean?
By Kevin Seifert
In perusing your comments and my Twitter mentions, it seems your interest in the Minnesota Vikings' latest stadium delay is twofold:
- Is the 2012 stadium agreement in jeopardy, putting the team back in play to move to Los Angeles?
- Could the delay push back the projected stadium debut in August 2016?
Based on my understanding of the situation as it stands now, there is no reason to believe the agreement will unravel or even be put up for re-negotiation. State leaders are acting as if they are nervous about the outcome of a New Jersey civil case involving the Wilf family, but in reality all they have done is ask for a certification of the financing behind the Vikings' $477 million commitment to the project.
The second issue is a bit more complicated. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for late October or early November, and disassembly of the Metrodome will begin no later than February 2014. Once that is complete, there is a 30-month timetable for construction of the new stadium.
The chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has said the review and certification of the Wilfs' finances will take a matter of weeks. If that's the case, my understanding is that the stadium opening won't be impacted. But if it takes longer, the question becomes more difficult to address.
Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of public affairs and stadium development, wouldn't comment on the tight timetable but reiterated the team has asked the authority to proceed with stadium work during the inquiry.
"If we delay [too long]," Bagley said, "this thing will end up costing everybody more money."
For now, at least, this episode appears to be more a matter of politics and base-covering than one of substance.