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GOP leader: State contribution to new Vikings arena 'not going to happen'

An image provided by AECOM via the City of Minneapolis shows an architectural artist's rendering of a proposed Minnesota Vikings stadium, released about a year ago. Minneapolis leaders are floating a plan for the city to pay 22 percent of the cost of a new football stadium for the Vikings that would be built on the site of the current Metrodome.

Minnesota doesn't have the capacity or tax base to be able to chip in $300 million toward a new Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said today.

Ramsey County officials announced earlier this year they had reached an agreement to be the team's local partner for a proposed stadium at the site of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunitions Plant, located about 10 miles from the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis that housed the Vikings for the past three decades.

But the deal hinges on a $407 million contribution from the team, a $350 million share from Ramsey County financed by a half-cent sales tax increase and the remaining $300 million picked up by state government.

"There is absolutely no way we're going to be able to go to the finance commissioner and say, 'would you write out a $300 million check to (Vikings owner) Zygi Wilf, and put in the little memo section 'roof for the new stadium,'" Zellers told the Herald. "It's not going to happen."

He said the team needs to tie financing for the proposed stadium to "the game, something that as a fan, you as a participant at the game, are willing to do. I'm not really sure what this is just yet."

Zellers had a few suggestions for the Vikings, including licensure and a "buy a brick and build the wall" fundraiser.

"But it has to be something like that because we don't have the capacity," he said. "We don't have the tax base."

The Metrodome is still a "pretty good facility," he said, and it would be much cheaper to renovate and add onto the 1982 arena rather than build in Arden Hills, where construction and cleanup costs make it a pricier project.

Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send email to