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Vikings express concern about Metrodome moving forward

Metrodome Collapse Football

We knew it was only a matter of time before last week’s collapse of the Metrodome became the centerpiece of the Vikings’ effort to replace not just the busted portions of the roof but the entire structure.  We didn’t know the effort would begin so soon.

On Friday, Vikings V.P. of stadium development Lester Bagley said that the team has long-term safety concerns regarding the team’s home since 1982.

“We’re going to have to dig into that and get an honest assessment of that,” Bagley said, per Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com. “This is Minnesota, it snows, we’re a hearty bunch, we deal with it.  Some people would say, ‘Well, a couple of shingles come off the roof you don’t build a new barn.’  Well, the roof collapsed.  We have concerns about the safety of the facility going forward.  We’ll deal with that after [Monday’s] game as well as we’ll deal with the financial and economic impacts of what happened.”

The fact that the team has been banging the drum for a new stadium for years makes it hard to assess at first glance whether the safety concerns are genuine.  Indeed, despite these supposed concerns, Bagley backed off as to the question of whether the Vikings wouldn’t play in the Metrodome in 2011.

“No, I’m saying we have concerns about the safety and the viability of that structure going forward,” Bagley said.

In our view, the Vikings need to tread lightly here.  That Ghost-of-Christmas-Future moment last Monday night, when folks in Minnesota got to see their home team play a home game not in their home of Minnesota, should be enough to wake up the keepers of the public coffers to kick in some coin for the construction of a new stadium.  If the Vikings come off as demanding a new home in the wake of last weekend’s events, the natural momentum flowing from a natural disaster could be disrupted.

So just let nature take its course, Vikings.  Given that the Superdome has recovered from the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, no one in Minnesota is going to buy the safety argument — especially if it’s acknowledged that safety won’t be an issue during the final year of the team’s lease there.

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32 Responses to “Vikings express concern about Metrodome moving forward”
  1. cup1981 says: Dec 18, 2010 6:06 AM

    Am I the only one starting to think that the timing of this “collapse” is a little convenient… hmmm. Just sayin’

  2. cup1981 says: Dec 18, 2010 6:07 AM

    All around the time that this LA thing is gaining more and more steam… A little strange to me.

  3. clivus63 says: Dec 18, 2010 6:35 AM

    Perhaps some of the $$$ allocated for the new facility could be used to teach the defense how to tackle.

  4. harrisonhits2 says: Dec 18, 2010 7:42 AM

    So because the old stadium is in poor shape the taxpayers should allow themselves to be extorted by billionaires and millionaires to provide a new home for them ?

    Let the Vikes pay for their own stadium the way the Krafts did and that Jerry Jones did. Jones got some help from the taxpayers, but all the Krafts got was money from the state to improve the local roads/access and paid fully for the stadium themselves.

    In case the greedy Wilfs haven’t noticed, the economy is still bottomed out with little chance of improvement in sight. Stop trying to rape the taxpayers you disgusting old scumbag.

  5. richm2256 says: Dec 18, 2010 8:14 AM

    It took the Vikings 28 years to get worked up over the safety concerns of having an inflated roof in one of the heaviest snow states in the country?

    I’d like to know who was the idiot that thought this was a good idea in the first place. Huge difference between the SuperDome post-Katrina and the Jiffy Pop roof. They are always just one bad snowstorm away from a collapse, possibly in the middle of a game.

  6. mattlion says: Dec 18, 2010 8:24 AM

    I agree with the last poster. Taxpayer money shouldn’t be used for stadiums, especially in a down economy. There’s so much money flowing around the NFL, owners can find a way to get the funding they need.

    If the economic situation was different (i.e. higher employment rates, so more tax income at the state levels) then maybe you could make an argument that it could be money well spent, but that’s doubtful.

  7. j4a1 says: Dec 18, 2010 8:40 AM

    I don’t find the collapse strange. What I find funny the fact that the stadium they said they couldn’t use, TCF Stadium, is being used Monday night. I think it’s strange that the players are saying its an “unsafe surface” to play on. I wonder were they got that line? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to put coils in the TCF turf and use this venue for both the Gophers and the Vikings permanently?

    The taxpayers of Minnesota are suppose to pay for 3 new stadiums in the last 5 or 6 years and also pay to maintain them while there are major bridges literally collapsing around them.

    I think not.

  8. chrisbermansdoublechin says: Dec 18, 2010 8:43 AM

    read that the state of Minnesota is 6.2 BILLION dollars in debt, … IF that’s true, just EXACTLY how much COIN should the taxpayers kick in Mikey? the lobbying for a new stadium, goes back to when Jesse Ventura was Governor, … WHY can’t the league help finance this, instead of trying to extort money from the taxpayers? given the anger the public has with bailouts, how many politicans want to put there necks on the chopping block with more corporate welfare?

  9. flyerscup2010 says: Dec 18, 2010 8:56 AM

    “Given that the Superdome has recovered from the horrors of Hurricane Katrina, no one in Minnesota is going to buy the safety argument — especially if it’s acknowledged that safety won’t be an issue during the final year of the team’s lease there.”

    I disagree. They’re two very different buildings, with the Metrodome having an inflatable roof. Further, nobody was playing football during Hurricane Katrina. However, it’s very possible that the Vikings could be playing football during a blizzard. How do they know the roof won’t cave in during the middle of a game?

    With that said, the Vikings should pay for their own damn stadium. The Patriots, Cowboys, Eagles, etc. did and did it the right way. The Jets and Giants did it the wrong way. The Vikings are crying poor to a poor state in the middle of a recession where people who aren’t millionaires (aka almost everyone in Minnesota who isn’t a Wilf) shouldn’t have to foot the bill for it.

  10. jimmy1smith says: Dec 18, 2010 9:00 AM

    For those who have never been there, the Metrodump is among the worst stadiums in all the NFL. So in that respect, it is in sync with the product that the Vikings put on the field.

    The fan base can argue and reasonably disagree with the various tax and contribution proposals but the bottom line is that Ziggy has options. On one hand, the Vikings were scrambling to sell out a PLAYOFF game a couple of years ago so you can understand why Ziggy might want to move. On the other hand, the stadium, parking, and in-game experience is so wanting that you could side with the football fan not wanting to spend their hard earned money. Especially when you factor in the criminal behavior that prevades the franchise.

    The stadium roof is the least of their concerns. I am sure it is easier to fix than the roster. Ziggy’s disdain for the fickle fan base combined with the millions waiting for him out in LA make this one a no-brainer.

  11. tmb333 says: Dec 18, 2010 9:55 AM

    It is not the taxpayers problem. The return on investment is simply not there. Let the owners build their own stadiums.

    If the taxpayers do decide to participate, they should ban all blackouts from their stadium and should limit ticket pricing. The Vikes want the taxpayers money, the taxpayers should get some control and protection. If the Vikes can’t live with these terms, they should move along or pay their own way.

    The rich in this country hate giving a penny to the poor but love encumbering the masses for funding of their hobbies.

    I love football, but the world would be fine without it.

    Minnesotans, don’t get trick into believing there is value in having an NFL team. There simply isn’t when you consider all expenses the taxpayers pay. It is a huge loss.

  12. tommytd says: Dec 18, 2010 10:35 AM

    I think the No Fun League should “express concern” about the Minnesota franchise! What a pitiful excuse for a professional team.

  13. 12isgreaterthan4 says: Dec 18, 2010 10:48 AM

    Doesn’t sound too good, Minnesota fans…

    Even though I hate the Vikings, I’d be sad to see them go – rivalries like Green Bay – Minnesota are hard to come by. I hope you guys get this issue resolved.

  14. hojo20 says: Dec 18, 2010 10:55 AM

    Maybe Senator Stuart Smalley could get some earmark money for a new stadium.

  15. SpartaChris says: Dec 18, 2010 11:45 AM

    mattlion says:
    Dec 18, 2010 8:24 AM
    I agree with the last poster. Taxpayer money shouldn’t be used for stadiums, especially in a down economy. There’s so much money flowing around the NFL, owners can find a way to get the funding they need.
    ==================================
    They will. They’ll go to a city offering them a better deal that lessens the amount of money coming out of their own pocket.

    Let me ask this- What’s a smarter way to do business: Put your own money at risk, or someone else’s?

    I’m not saying taxpayers should have to vote for a bill they don’t agree with, but they should also not complain if the team moves to a city willing to lessen the out of pocket burden on the team owner.

  16. importantpftcomment says: Dec 18, 2010 11:47 AM

    Doing nothing but stirring the pot with this one.

    So if all the experts (Deb not being one of them) declare the roof safe (eventually), the Vikings should ignore them and bitch, whine, moan and complain?

    Once the roof is inflated, it will be just as safe as it has been every single other winter it has been in MN, INCLUDING the Halloween blizzard of ’91 when we had more and heavier snow!

  17. SpartaChris says: Dec 18, 2010 11:58 AM

    tmb333 says:
    Dec 18, 2010 9:55 AM
    It is not the taxpayers problem. The return on investment is simply not there. Let the owners build their own stadiums.

    If the taxpayers do decide to participate, they should ban all blackouts from their stadium and should limit ticket pricing. The Vikes want the taxpayers money, the taxpayers should get some control and protection. If the Vikes can’t live with these terms, they should move along or pay their own way.
    ===========================
    Ahh, I love the utopian dream. Rest assured, they *will* move along if they can’t get a deal they want. It’s business.

    The moment you ban blackouts, you no longer create an incentive for fans to attend the game. People will stay home and not spend the money necessary for the team to successfully operate, which means it won’t be long before you team moves elsewhere.

    As for limiting ticket prices, now you’re putting a cap on how much the team can earn. I wouldn’t sign that deal and I don’t imagine any business person worth their salt would either.

    Besides, I’d argue ticket prices are pretty fair and there’s probably room for an increase. If they were so outrageously priced, you would see blackouts in more than just a couple of cities. Instead, you see blackouts in the same places, year in and year out.

    It’s fine if you personally don’t feel a need to support your local football team. Write your congressman and don’t vote for the measure when it appears on the ballot.

  18. davikes says: Dec 18, 2010 11:59 AM

    The TCF Bank stadium currently only seats 50,000, but it was designed to be expandable to 80,000. The field is artificial, so if it were tarped freezing shouldn’t be an issue. They are going to tarp it and heat under the tarp before Monday’s game.

    The crew trying to get snow off the roof of the metrodome thought that they could melt it off with warm water, because they had done that before. Instead, because it was colder, the water started to freeze into slush on the roof, adding a lot of weight. It might not have collapsed if they hadn’t done that.

    The dome also didn’t suddenly collapse without warning. Blizzards don’t suddenly spring up in the middle of football games. The safety complaint is BS.

  19. ernieernie says: Dec 18, 2010 12:24 PM

    As A Minnesotan I have no problemo with the owners building a new stadium, domed or undomed. No problem at all.

    As a taxpayer in a state with a 6.5 BILLION deficit, lousy roads and bridges and an increasing unemployment rate and poverty rate, I say heck no. Go elsewhere if you want, don’t let the door hit you on the you know what on the way out and turn out the lights when you leave!

  20. cusoman says: Dec 18, 2010 12:30 PM

    The stadium deal will happen, with or without public support, sorry tax fighters.

  21. vikinghater says: Dec 18, 2010 12:39 PM

    What happened to all these bragging Queen fans. We’re going to win the super bowl, we’re great, Bretts gonna lead us to the promised land. Come on chowder heads, lets hear some more predictions!!!

  22. monkeesfan says: Dec 18, 2010 1:13 PM

    harrisonhits2 – why the hell not? A stadium is a far better investment than the uniocracies and entitlement pyramid schemes taxpayers are bilked into backing every year.

  23. madmike66 says: Dec 18, 2010 1:26 PM

    I wonder how many construction jobs would be created by building the new stadium. And I wonder ow many jobs will be lost when the team moves to LA. And I wonder how much tax revenue the state will lose when the Wilfs begin forking over their taxes to LA county. You’re right Minnesota, using your taxes to fund a new stadium is a terrible idea. Dummies.

  24. bluestree says: Dec 18, 2010 1:58 PM

    Definately a lot of anti tax feeling here and all around on all issues right now. And it’s not hard to relate to. If you are going to raise taxes to build a stadium it should be a temporary one, and something should be done to see that all taxpayers benefit.
    Require the team to build in an additional revenue stream for the taxpayers that would go on in perpetuity. If they are going to get their luxury boxes how about requiring in the plans that a parklike facility be built somewhere with programs to benefit kids paid for and maintained by the franchise.
    Say they built a facility where kids could learn and play sports and exercise in a gym staffed by NFL provided phys ed teachers. They could work out some sort of interning program for college kids interested in sports training. Programs for the kids could help parents who are working longer hours because of the economy. Some programs could generate funds with fees or concessions to help offset costs.
    Bottom line is there are good arguments on both sides as to whether it’s a worthwhile investment of taxpayer funds to build a stadium.
    Good government could address those things and do something good for the millionaires and the average folks. But the roof, like the bridge, is a lesson for us. We are letting our infrastructure crumble in the pursuit of lower taxes. We need to do better.

  25. dwhitehurst says: Dec 18, 2010 1:59 PM

    What puzzles me as an outsider to Minnesota life is:

    1) Why the Vikings organization and Univ-of-Minnesota couldn’t have come together and built one stadium which they share? Did it have to do with a indoor/outdoor stadium difference? Or was it a site issue? (i.e., UofM wanted a stadium “on campus”–although UofM has a confusing “campus” to begin with, given it’s sort of fragmented all over the place.)

    2) If it was a must for the Vikings organization to have an indoor stadium, why couldn’t the Vikings and the Twins gotten together and built one stadium, given they already had been sharing the Metrodome prior to the Twins new outdoor stadium??

    2b) On the Twins stadium, given how bad the spring weather can be in the Upper Midwest, why the heck would they not build one with at least a retractable roof like Milwaukee did, especially for Twins fans driving from a long ways away? (Yes that would’ve cost more, but all the more reason to build an indoor/retractable roof type stadium with the Vikings, to help share the cost and only burden the MN taxpayer once.)

    I defer to knowledgeable Minnesotans for the answers to my questions, but whatever the reasons, if I were a Minnesota taxpayer I wouldn’t be happy that I’d be asked to help fund another new stadium just for the Vikings, while I’m already looking at two brand new stadiums already built within the last 2 years. I mean, out of respect for the taxpayers, the Giants and Jets can share a stadium…why couldn’t the Vikings have done so with the Twins or Gophers?

    My questions are not meant to be criticisms per se. Actually, I’m just seeking the info on how things played out in MN regarding the other two stadiums, lest any criticisms I would eventually make would be invalid and unfair.

    Lastly, growing up I lived in Minnesota in the 70’s for about 4 years, and remember going to a couple Viking’s games outdoors at the Met (anyone remember Ahmad Rashad’s td catch of a Hail Mary pass which bounced off the helmet of a Browns player and into his hands as he walzed into the endzone to win the game? I was there. Great memory.) Yes, it was cold outdoors in Minnesota. Yes it snowed and they had to remove it, or play in the snow. And yet, I’ve also been to games no less cold and snowy at Soldier Field and Lambeau….and yes, that is part of the greatness of the experience, and as long as you dress for it, it’s bearable. I mean, why did Chicago build a new outdoor Soldier Field stadium if it was unbearable for the fans? Why did Lambeau renovate their current outdoor venue if it was unbearable to their fans? Why can’t Minnesota do so too? Wouldn’t that also cost less than building an indoor stadium?

    Is it simply because Minnesotans have gotten used to being inside for games (like that big dog you get who originally was supposed to be an “outside” dog, but you caved, and let him inside all the time, so that he can’t handle the outdoors anymore).

    Whatever the case, while I’ve been to a game at the fair-weathered Metrodome, there is nothing like attending a game outdoors in the elements, like at Soldier Field or Lambeau. So regardless, I feel bad for Minnesotans, as they don’t know what they’re missing. I hope they don’t lose the Vikings, but given the situation up there, the Viking are in a hard position to be asking the Minnesota taxpayers to fund yet another new stadium, a more expensive indoor one at that.

  26. bostonspaniard says: Dec 18, 2010 2:34 PM

    Los Angeles Vikings!!!!!!

  27. farmboyjad says: Dec 18, 2010 3:44 PM

    dwhitehurst:
    Good questions, all.

    1) Yes, the U wanted their stadium on campus. They also wanted a smaller stadium to create a better atmosphere with the limited fanbase. Those two things fundamentally clashed with the Vikings wants/needs
    2) The Twins, more than anyone else, wanted out of the dome. The metrodome was built first and foremeost as a football stadium and it was pretty pathetic as a ballfield. After dealing with that for a quarter century, they could be forgiven for not wanting to make any sacrifices in the name of football AGAIN with a new stadium.
    2b) A retractable roof was looked into and planned at one point in the design process. It was eliminated because it was too expensive given how frequently it would have been necessary.

    My personal take on the matter is the following: the Twins were justified in building a new stadium both due to their legitimate complaints and because with 81 home games per year (plus playoffs!), there is a significant increase in the number of people spending time, and thus money, downtown during the summer.
    The Gophers, meanwhile, paid for more than half of the stadium privately (read ‘with my tuition’ but I digress). Not to say 40% of a stadium is nothing, but it too definitely helped to create new interest in the gophers and brought revenue onto campus.
    The Vikings proposal isn’t completely without merit, but they’re going to sell out whether they get a new stadium or not. In terms of bringing more people around, the plan is calling for a new field of the same size (roughly) in the same location. Even if they manage to increase interest (possible), you’re talking 10 games a year tops. How will it contribute to the economy aside from lining Zygi Wilf’s pockets?
    It’s also worth noting: Wilf’s plan includes an entire restoration of the east side of downtown. Because of that, it’s far and away the most expensive plan of the three.

  28. rick1922 says: Dec 18, 2010 3:52 PM

    I can see it now Minnesota tax payers will be paying for a new stadium next year or the team will say it;s moving toLA .

  29. satanicxhellxcreature says: Dec 18, 2010 4:32 PM

    jimmy1smith says:
    Dec 18, 2010 9:00 AM
    Ziggy’s disdain for the fickle fan base combined with the millions waiting for him out in LA make this one a no-brainer.

    ————————————————–

    The only “no-brainer” here is your skull.

  30. thetooloftools says: Dec 18, 2010 5:02 PM

    Hey Minnesota fans, heed my words. Your new owner has no loyalty to you, your heritage, or your tradition. He is a bottom line businessman who will not be pushed around or accept playing in anything but a new stadium that he wants YOU to help finance. Where were these “safety concerns” earlier and why were they not made public if they knew or thought that? Bottom line from a bottom line guy… if the Zigster pulls the team out to L.A. and calls them “The California Surfers” and they play in _____ (fill in the blank) stadium while the new home is being built do not be surprised. You’ll be tearing down Bud Grant, Fran Tarkington, and Purple People Eater pictures and mumbling and grumbling while he reinvents your team and gets his stadium. Wake up. It’s his team not yours.

  31. didiwags says: Dec 19, 2010 1:20 AM

    Boo hoo to all you MN taxpayers crying…. I am a Minnesotan and like this stadium is going to make a big enough dent in my taxes to complain!! Go find something else to cry about and give the Vikings a stadium!!!

  32. Beer Cheese Soup says: Dec 20, 2010 2:28 PM

    importantpftcomment says:

    Doing nothing but stirring the pot with this one.

    So if all the experts (Deb not being one of them) declare the roof safe (eventually), the Vikings should ignore them and bitch, whine, moan and complain?

    Once the roof is inflated, it will be just as safe as it has been every single other winter it has been in MN, INCLUDING the Halloween blizzard of ’91 when we had more and heavier snow!
    ____________

    Obviously, Deb isn’t an expert on anything except how to defend the Pittsburgh Steelers’ unethical and sometimes criminal activities to no end.

    As for the actual, Minnesota, experts, however: do you honestly trust them? They said the bridge would be okay for another 3-5 years. That failed.

    They were also fine with letting the Dome be used last week. What if the roof collapse, and hundreds of pounds of falling snow, had occurred in an actual game setting? What if it does the next time?

    These “experts” already have blood on their hands over the bridge disaster. The original Dome collapse occurred when the facility was barely a year old. I’m with Wilf on this one. A new stadium should be the highest priority for Minnesotans this year.

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