Governor signs stadium bill into law

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Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf couldn’t stop smiling while standing in the Capitol Rotunda.

“This is a great day for Minnesota, a great day for the Vikings fans throughout the entire country,” he said moments after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a law that would help build a new home for the NFL team.

At an event that felt more like a pep rally, Dayton signed HF2958 that calls for a $975 million, 65,000-seat roofed state-owned “People’s Stadium” to be built primarily on the Metrodome site on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis. The team will cover $477 million of construction costs; the state $348 million; and Minneapolis $150 million.

Although signed off on by the state, the project still needs final approval from the Minneapolis City Council. That vote is expected to occur May 25.

Wilf spoke as though that vote is a formality.

“The hard work begins now. To build this stadium will take everyone’s efforts; this will be a team effort as it was to get it approved. I look forward to working with every one of you to making this a truly great stadium for all the fans and for everybody in Minnesota.”

Other speakers, including Rep. Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead) and Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont), sponsors of the law, thanked Vikings’ fans for their overwhelming support.

“When you start thinking about what’s in the best interest of the state we did it,” Rosen said. “Let’s celebrate this achievement because we did good, we moved this state forward.”

A handful of protesters tried to disrupt the ceremony, including chants of “Shame on you Gov. Dayton” and “Zygi got bailed out and we got sold out.” At one point, they were quickly out-chanted with “Let’s Go Vikings” and another with the singing of the team’s fight song, “Skol Vikings.”

The plan is to break ground next year with the Vikings playing in the new facility in 2016. As currently envisioned the team will play in the Metrodome through the 2014 season and then at TCF Bank Stadium for a season, while the current stadium is razed and the new facility completed.

“We promise you that we will work together to build a first-class facility, one that we can all be proud of for generations to come,” said Team President Mark Wilf.