Tag:Zygi Wilf
Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:37 pm

Report: Vikings reach preliminary stadium deal

The NFL wasn't going to allow the Vikings to play in a college stadium while a new stadium was built. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

In late January, there were discussions that NFL owners might nix the Vikings' new stadium deal, primarily because the logistical gymnastics involved the Vikes playing up to three years in a temporary venue while the stadium was built.

The possibility of $67 million in losses over that time made it a non-starter. Now, according to the StarTribune.com, it appears that the team, the state and the city have a preliminary stadium deal in place. Details via the StarTribune.com's Rochelle Olson and Mike Kaszuba:
Minneapolis, the state and the Minnesota Vikings have reached preliminary agreement on the division of costs for a $975 million stadium on a site at or near the 30-year-old Metrodome, according to multiple sources who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity.

The city would contribute $150 million in construction costs to the downtown Minneapolis project. The state would pay $398 million and the Vikings would pay $427 million. The city also would pay approximately $180 million in operating costs over the next 30 years, the sources said.
The sources added that all the details -- including cost overruns -- still need to be sorted, but there could be an announcement as soon as next week.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley wouldn't comment on the report instead insisting that “There is no agreement. Everything is subject to negotiations. We’re working hard on an agreement, but we’re not there yet.”

While a preliminary agreement is progress, the proposal would need to pass the Legislature, possibly the Minneapolis City Council, as well as the NFL. Put differently: it's a start but there's still a long way to go.

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Posted on: January 28, 2012 9:24 am
Edited on: January 28, 2012 8:23 pm

Owners might nix Vikings new stadium plans

The NFL isn't excited about Minnesota playing in a college stadium for up to three years. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Here's the deal: the Viking want a new stadium. And Minnesota governor Mark Dayton has suggested that said new stadium be constructed on the site of the Vikings' current stadium. The organization, which had other locations in mind, initially balked at the idea before coming around on it.

This means that they'll have to find a temporary venue to host their games until the new digs are complete. Early estimates are that it could take three years. One option: University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, an outdoor stadium currently used by the Gophers.

But even if the Vikings and the governor's office are amenable to such a plan, the NFL, it turns out, is not.

Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes that there will be a $67 million financial hit not to mention the logistical headache of playing elsewhere for up to three seasons. (According to Murphy, Vikings president Mark Wilf said the team would lose $37 million playing at TCF Bank Stadium for three seasons and would have to spend an additional $30 million to make it NFL compliant.)

Plus: league owners have to sign off on any such move and, well, it doesn't sound like they're on board.

"I can tell you there won't be a lot of happy campers among the membership (owners)," a person close to the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of stadium negotiations told Murphy. "TCF is a gem, but it's not an NFL stadium."

Proponents of the plan could point to the 2010 season when the Vikings played a December game at TCF Bank Stadium after the Metrodome roof collapsed. Murphy notes that "The game was even celebrated as the franchise's return to outdoor football, and more game day snow helped limit attendance and quell possible brouhahas over general admission seating."

The critics' response: you can't compare one game to three years.

"Capacity is way reduced," the person close to the situation said. "It's a different atmosphere for visiting teams, not as much of a home-field advantage for the Vikings. Nobody has figured out how the team will fill that loss of revenue hole. There's still a lot of wood to chop."

So what are the alternatives? Murphy explains:
The Metrodome figured to be the Vikings' way station if they got their wish - a new facility in Arden Hills. The Dome might be viable this season if engineers can do ancillary work around the building before blowing it up. But until a bill is passed by the Legislature, there is no construction timeline.

And with no Metrodome in 2013 and beyond, there is no alternative in the area outside of TCF for the Vikings.
"We understand the challenges that we face there," Wilf said earlier this week. "We're still in the process of doing our due diligence. Lot of aspects involved, including how we address the seasons we play at TCF. But we're making progress on getting to know the site much better."

Wich is why the Pioneer Press's Bob Sansevere says the Arden Hills location needs to be revisited.

"Instead of wailing and stomping their feet in objection to a new stadium on the Dome site, Vikings owners can just sit back and let their NFL peers be the bad guys. What Minnesota politicians need to realize is, they're dealing with successful businessmen from Jersey who are adept at making deals and getting what they want. In other words, politicians should take another serious look at putting a stadium in Arden Hills, which is what the Vikings' ownership group wants."

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Posted on: December 25, 2011 8:27 pm

Report: Vikings close to a deal to stay in MIN

WilfBy Josh Katzowitz

The NFL still seems awfully intent on moving a team to Los Angeles, but it sounds like that team won’t be the Minnesota Vikings. That’s the word from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who reported on NBC’s Football Night in America that the Vikings and Minnesota officials are close to a deal that would keep the team where it’s always been.

This has been a long drawn-out process for the people of Minnesota.

The Vikings have been trying to build a new stadium in Arden Hills, but even though the team, the state and the county all promised money for the stadium, a new facility was about $100 million short. Then, there was talk that a new stadium might be built within the Minneapolis city limits, which would be less expensive but not what the Vikings officials wanted.

The Vikings and L.A.
But considering the Vikings lease with the Metrodome was set to expire (though there was talk that the lease might have contained a clause that would keep the Vikings in their current stadium for another season), it behooved the state to get this deal done.

While owner Zygi Wilf has made it clear he wants to stay in the Minneapolis area, if L.A., with its promise of glitz, glam and a new stadium, puts the full-court press on the Vikings ownership, there’s little question the Vikings would have to listen.

And when you’re listening to somebody who’s trying to woo you, anything can happen.

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Posted on: September 10, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 6:55 pm

Adrian Peterson agrees to $100 million deal


Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You remember how last week the Titans blew your mind by signing running back Chris Johnson to a four-year deal worth $53.5 million ($30 million guaranteed)? Not surprisingly, the Vikings have gone a step further. Make, that about three steps further.

According to Pro Football Talk, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson will sign a seven-year deal potentially worth as much as $100 million ($36 million guaranteed).

Which is insane money, especially for a running back. But it also means, just like what's happened in Pittsburgh with Troy Polamalu, Peterson now will likely stay in Minnesota for the rest of his career.

Said owner Zygi Wilf: "Adrian’s performances on the field have given fans so much excitement since he first joined us as a rookie. His talent and determination are remarkable and we are proud to have him be a part of the family for years to come. We are excited that in the past week we have been able to lock up Chad Greenway and Adrian for the long term. Both players have come up in our system and are the foundation to the future of the Vikings."

And coach Leslie Frazier: "Adrian is, to me, the best running back in pro football and we’re happy to have him as a part of the organization for the long term. He’s a fan favorite and a great teammate. Adrian’s a guy we lean on when he’s on the field with the ball in his hand and as a leader in the locker room.”

Added Ben Dogra, Peterson's agent, to the AP: "Adrian loves playing for the Minnesota Vikings. Deep inside he wanted to finish his career with the Minnesota Vikings ... He said, 'Look, I'm under contract. I'm just going to play. He never contemplated holding out. He understands the business side of things. He's very smart like that."

Usually, $100 million contracts were reserved for quarterbacks (unless your name is Albert Haynesworth) and definitely not running back. Not anymore apparently, and CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman makes a good point. Writes Freeman: "Is it a risk? Hell, yeah, it is. But it's also a sign. NFL teams, with higher salary cap numbers, awash in cash, and fully aware there will be labor peace for a decade, are willing to take more risks with guaranteed money."

Even for running backs who, almost unanimously, are less effective (or out of football completely) after the age of 30. Peterson, by the way, is 26, so presumably, he has almost another half-decade of productivity left.

And with his new deal, hopefully Peterson is now clear that he's not actually being paid slave wages.

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Posted on: August 11, 2011 2:11 pm

Childress: Moss 'vomited' on Vikings locker room

ChildressPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s the best quote from former Vikings coach Brad Childress that you’ll probably ever see. But hey, WR Randy Moss -- supposedly retired these days -- brings out the best in just about everybody, even the coach who he sorta, kinda helped get fired.

While talking to NFL.com about Moss, who was handed to the Vikings last season after the Patriots decided they didn’t need him anymore, Childress said this about his former WR: "We had good guys, by and large [but Moss] walked in the locker room and vomited on it."

Yikes, right?

Childress went on to say that perhaps he should have consulted owner Zygi Wilf before deciding to cut Moss, and that didn’t help his standing with the person who had the power to fire him (it also didn’t help matter that Childress wasn’t exactly known as a people-person and that he had led the team to a 3-7 record when he was canned).

"I should have gone up the chain," Childress said.

Childress obviously had no idea the situation would become so bad, especially when he first talked to Moss about playing in Minnesota.

"He called me and said, 'I can't wait, I can't wait. I feel like I'm coming home again,'" Childress said.

Instead, Moss caught 13 passes in four games and helped get his coach fired before he ended up as an irrelevant bench player in Tennessee. Now, both are out of work, and their return as a viable player and as a future NFL head coach is questionable.

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Posted on: August 10, 2011 9:22 pm

Vikings still on track not to move to L.A.

Farmer's FieldPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While meeting Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 to approve a new $1.5 billion downtown stadium. Which was an unsurprising step, yet a step that makes the realization of football in L.A. a little bit closer (not to mention, the loss of one of the NFL’s 32 current franchises).

Which means if you’re a fan of those five teams that supposedly were talking to the AEG group -- that was the Chargers, the Jaguars, the Raiders, the Vikings and the Rams -- perhaps you’re freaking out a bit at this news.

Well, Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf is here to ease your mind if you follow the Vikings. Wilf said Wednesday, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that a new stadium in the Minneapolis area has “momentum.”

Which should be nice to hear for Vikings fans, considering the team DID meet with AEG in May to discuss the possibility of moving the team from Minnesota to sunny California.

Wilf talked to reporters today after meeting with nearly 20 Ramsey County officials on the field during morning practice. Wilf also revealed he met last week with Minnesota governor Mark Dayton to continue figuring out how to try to fund the new stadium that will be erected in the Arden Hills area.

The Vikings and L.A.
The problem is the state legislature had a chance to approve a deal during a special session (originally, the deal was the state would put in $300 million, Ramsey County would add $350 million, and the Vikings would pay $407 million -- which would leave the project about $100 million short), and the legislative body failed to do so.

Dayton, though, could call another special session for the fall in order to get a deal done. If that’s the case, the Vikings will almost assuredly stay in Minnesota.

But if not and the Vikings can’t get the funding they need, perhaps they’ll move into the cross-hairs of AEG -- a position currently occupied by the Chargers.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:01 pm

Report: Wilf to add $30 million for new stadium

WilfPosted by Josh Katzowitz

A few days ago, when asked how Minnesota was going to close a $100 million hole in trying to fund a new stadium, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf gave the impression that his organization and its offer to spend $407 million for the project had contributed enough.

The problem with that line of thinking is that the state absolutely will NOT spend more than $300 million, and a sales tax increase in Ramsey County only will provide so much money (about $350 million). Hence, the $100 million hole that would be used to shore up the roads around the site of the proposed stadium at Arden Hills.

While the Vikings and/or Ramsey County could seek bonds or loans that would close that gap, they still would have to be paid back by surcharges and fees generated by the new stadium (and paid for by fans anyway).

Which is why it’s good news for Minnesota fans who don’t want to see their team move to Los Angeles to hear that, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Wilf agreed to add another $30 million to fund the project.

There’s another meeting scheduled for Thursday between Wilf, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and other state and team officials. If there’s an agreement between everybody, the state legislature would have to convene a special session in order to pass the bill that would allow the new stadium to be funded and built.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: June 15, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 3:22 pm

Minnesota still trying to figure out stadium cost

WilfPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With so much talk about AEG possibly targeting the Vikings franchise in order to move it to Los Angeles, you’d think the citizens of Minnesota would do just about whatever it took to keep the Vikings in town.

That might or might not be true when it comes to agreeing to a deal to build a new stadium.

“We're committed to getting this project done if at all possible," Gov. Mark Dayton told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "Where there's a will, there's a way."

Yet, there are potential problems. Minnesota legislators want a plan by Friday, so they can formulate a bill, hold hearings and vote on it during a special session next month. But the executive and legislative branches of the government haven’t agreed on a state budget yet, and that is a bigger priority than funding a new stadium.

Basically, the state has said it would provide $300 million for a new stadium, Ramsey County would put $350 million into the pot by increasing sales tax by a half-cent and the Vikings would kick in $407 million. But that means funding for the stadium is still about $100 million short (that’s for the cost of road upgrades near the potential site).

So, what’s the plan to fix that hole?

The state says it won’t add any more money, and Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said the team already has made a substantial contribution. According to the paper, the Vikings and Ramsey County said they would seek state and local grants, as well as a cash advance from a Ramsey County bond or a state loan. The bond or loan then would be paid back from fees and surcharges that the new stadium generates.

But Dayton said any state grants would count against the $300 million cap. Other than that, though, he said, “I don't rule anything out. ... If we can get a federal grant, great."

And if all this fails? Well, the Vikings probably won’t go back to the Metrodome. Which means the franchise might be ripe for a move to L.A.

AEG is watching.

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Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com