Ten years of legislative lobbying by the Minnesota Vikings has culminated into one signature event: the signing of a stadium bill by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Dayton signed the $975 million package at 12:05pm on Monday, after the Minnesota legislature approved the deal last week. Dayton was joined by team officials, bill sponsors and Minneapolis city officials at the signing.
The plan requires one final step before full approval. The Minneapolis City Council must approve the deal before June 14th. Council members will meet in a regular session on May 25th, though mayor R.T. Rybak could call them together earlier.
The pro-stadium majority on the council currently holds a thin one-vote lead, collected after a 7-6 preliminary vote in April. Rybak sees no indication that any pro votes would switch, though council members have said little since the bill's passage.
The Vikings aren't waiting for council approval to start planning, though. The team has an aggressive deadline to meet before debuting the new stadium in the 2016 season.
The current plan -- subject to change per conditions -- allows the Vikings to play in the Metrodome for the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons, and part of the 2014 season, while the southeast end of the new stadium is built on old parking space.
The remainder of the 2014 season and the entire 2015 season would then be played at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, while the Metrodome is torn down and construction continues. The Vikings have agreed to pay $250,000 per game to the university for that season and any additional games played there.
Owner Zygi Wilf talked with KFAN on Friday and hinted that the team may pursue a retractable roof on the new stadium, in hopes of luring a Major League Soccer team to the Twin Cities. The rules of the stadium bill allow the team to construct a retractable roof at their own expense.
Wilf also played coy when asked if stadium deal failure would have caused him to move the team.
"I don't like Monday morning quarterbacking," Wilf told the Star Tribune. "Since the question is moot, I have no thoughts about it."