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Minnesota legislature set to take vote on Vikings stadium bill

The Minnesota House is putting a negotiated Vikings stadium deal in doubt.

Lawmakers voted Monday to scale back the state's contribution for the $975 million stadium and require the team to put in more money.

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The Vikings would have to put in $105 million more than in the package that was negotiated by the governor, key lawmakers, the Minneapolis mayor and the team. The Vikings would also have to share proceeds from naming rights for the stadium with the state and city of Minneapolis.

A plan to pay the state's share through a gambling expansion survived an attempt to remove it.

"After months of negotiation and compromise and the building of a legislative coalition, albeit a fragile one, any meaningful change of the bill drastically changes the probability of success," NFL executive vice president of venture and business operations Eric Grubman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "You can't change the deal at the last minute." Grubman said that amending the bill to require the Vikings pay more or use gambling to finance the state's contributions were deal breakers for the NFL.

The GOP-controlled chamber began debating a bill for $975 million stadium shortly before purple-clad fans rallied in the Capitol with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Vikings players, including quarterback Christian Ponder. The debate was expected to stretch into the evening, possibly past midnight.

The Vikings have pushed for a new stadium for more than a decade, but their efforts went nowhere until their lease at the Metrodome expired. Rep. Morrie Lanning, the bill's sponsor, said the team likely would leave the state if the legislation fails.

"Whatever you think of this bill, this is our one chance," said Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove. "This bill works, it's been fine-tuned and it will build a stadium."

On Saturday, Vikings four time All-Pro defensive end Jared Allenrallied with supporters of the stadium bill including Gov. Dayton who wore a Percy Harvin jersey.

"I don't want them to be the Los Angeles Vikings, or the Tucson Vikings or the Vancouver Vikings," Dayton told a cheering crowd of hundreds. "I want them to be the Minnesota Vikings the rest of my life."

The House vote will serve as the first test for a proposal that must also clear the Senate and likely would face House-Senate negotiations before another round of votes.

The plan would have the Vikings cover about $427 million of the construction costs, or about 44 percent. The state would pay $398 million, with the money coming from an expansion of gambling. The city of Minneapolis would kick in $150 million by redirecting an existing hospitality tax.

Supporters weren't ready to predict passage. The legislation appeared all but dead until NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell visited in April, raising pressure on lawmakers to act. After that, the bill limped through several committees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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