Vikings owner says he'd spend less for downtown stadium

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Thursday the team would spend significantly less than the $400 million it has pledged to help a build a new stadium if it's not located on the team's preferred site in suburban St. Paul.

The Vikings have committed the money to support a $1.1 billion stadium plan at a sprawling site in Arden Hills, which the team favors for its long-term development potential. Some political and business leaders favor keeping the team in downtown Minneapolis.

"We're committed to the Arden Hills site for what it brings to the fans, but we're also committed to investing over $400 million to the Arden Hills site for the experiences that everyone can get from Arden Hills," Wilf told The Associated Press in an interview. "Any other location besides Arden Hills wouldn't justify near that level of commitment."

The Vikings have campaigned for a new stadium to replace the Metrodome for about a decade. Their lease at the dome ends after this season, and many fans are worried the most popular team in the state could be lost to football-hungry Los Angeles unless a deal is reached soon.

Wilf said he has had only minimal contact with Minneapolis officials about potential sites downtown and didn't entirely rule out the possibility. But he stressed Arden Hills remains the preferred destination because any downtown site can't match its potential for surrounding development.

Messages left with Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak seeking comment were not immediately returned.

The team has acknowledged being contacted by two groups looking to lure a franchise to Los Angeles, but Wilf said they haven't spoken for months.

"From the NFL's standpoint and the league's standpoint, they do intend to have one, if not two teams, in that market in the future," Wilf said. "But I want to let everyone know that we are entirely focused on getting the job done here and I'm not paying much attention to what happens outside this issue here."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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