|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."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."
And with no Metrodome in 2013 and beyond, there is no alternative in the area outside of TCF for the Vikings.
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."
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.