As far as symbols go, you don’t get much better than the roof falling in on the Metrodome as a perfect representation of the Minnesota Vikings’ 2010 season. As far as statements go, that same deflated Dome speaks pretty loudly for the fact that the Vikings need a new stadium. So begins in earnest one of the biggest issues facing the franchise this offseason: where will they play their next game?
There are concerns that it will be too expensive to repair the four ripped sections of the roof (given that the Vikings’ lease with the facility runs out at the end of the 2011 season. Why spend millions of dollars to repair the roof if it could be torn down, or worse, is without its primary tenant if the Vikings are somehow sold and moved? There are also concerns that if the roof is repaired, it won’t be ready for the 2011 season (given that there is one). An update on decisions regarding the Dome’s repair plans are expected tomorrow.
So what are the alternatives if the Metrodome has seen its last Vikings game?
In Wednesday’s Star Tribune, a story revealed four potential sites for a new Vikings stadium (and none of them are located in Los Angeles). Each has pros and cons, and none of them are viable without some kind of financing plan, financing partner, legislative approval and a large infusion of cash by Vikings owner Zygi Wilf. But a fan can dream, so let’s take a look:
Arden Hills–Old Army ammunitions manufacturing plant
Pros–Easily attained as it is owned by one owner, the Federal government; located near highways 35W, 694 and 10, where some of the infrastructure is in place; plenty of room for the stadium, parking (tailgating) and development.
Cons–Some infrastructure construction and highway expansion will be needed; not connected to light rail lines; the area is polluted and a little ways away from the team’s ticket base in the western and southern suburbs; would completely change the complexion of the surrounding area.
Brooklyn Park–Target Corporation’s large northern campus
Pros–One owner, Target, should make it easy to obtain; nearby highways 610 and 169 and close to 694; plenty of room for the entire complex.
Cons–Located in the northern corridor, it has the same isolated location problems that the Arden Hills site has; requires infrastructure development; once again, a wake-up call for anyone living in the area.
North Loop–Downtown Minneapolis, southwest of Target Field
Pros–It would put a stamp on this area as a sports hub with Target Field, Target Center and Target Stadium, perhaps?; close to a transit hub.
Cons–Tight space available; acquisition would be difficult as properties owned by the city of Minneapolis, several businesses and charity organizations would have to be bought out and relocated; chances of a tangled traffic mess when Vikings play at the same time as the Twins or Timberwolves is high.
Pros–a plan for a new retractable roof stadium exists and has been paid for; the infrastructure is in place.
Cons–The construction of it would probably require the longest displacement of the team to TCF Bank Stadium as the Dome would be torn down (since the Vikings are supposed to play at Mall of America Field in 2011); the Vikings favor this site; centrally located for all metro fans.
The Metrodome site appears to be the best site, but it may not be the final one. There is also the ticklish little issue that involves the function of the stadium: Wilf wants an open air venue while the state legislature would certainly favor a stadium with a roof so they can replace the 300-plus activities and events that took place in the Dome. A building for the entire state to use rather than one for the Vikings’ 10 dates a year is going to be easier to support at the Capitol.
Stay tuned as the issue heats up–which is a symbol all frozen Minnesotans could warm up to right about now.