University of Minnesota 'caught off guard' by Vikings letter

1:44 AM, Jan 11, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - If the Metrodome is torn down to make way for a new football stadium, the Minnesota Vikings believe there are hidden costs that haven't been reported.

"We just need to make sure all the costs are included," said Vikings spokesperson, Lester Bagley.

Vikings President Mark Wilf sent a letter to Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson Tuesday indicating what he describes are hidden costs.

He says the team would lose $37 million over three years by playing at the smaller home of the Minnesota Gophers, TCF Bank Stadium while a new stadium would be built on the Metrodome site.

Plus, the Vikings claim about $11 million worth of upgrades would need to be made at TCF.

"Like weatherization, putting heating coils under the field, some capacity issues regarding temporary seats in the end zones," said Bagley.

When it's all said and done, Bagley believes tearing down the dome would add $67 million dollars more to what city officials have indicated.

Meantime, the U of M Chief Financial Officer, Richard Pfutzenreuter, was surprised by Tuesday's letter, saying he didn't know where the Vikings' numbers were coming from.

"We did not know the letter was coming. We are not familiar with what makes up the numbers," he said.

"I just think it is best that all the parties that could be impacted have a chance to vet some of these numbers."

He says the university is more than willing to work with the Vikings, if they need to use TCF Stadium, but both sides agree there will be a lot of work that needs to be done before then.

But City Council President Barbara Johnson is focusing on the positive, namely the Vikings acknowledging in the letter the Metrodome site is "workable".

"I'm glad that they're acknowledging it's not impossible to be there," said Johnson of the Metrodome site.

And she, along with the mayor, says they're willing to work with all sides to make it happen.

"It's a good thing to know the more direct confirmation of what they think those costs will be," said Johnson.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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