Last reviewed September 2022
Minnesota Issues Resource Guides
Football Stadiums in Minnesota and the Vikings
This guide is compiled by staff at the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library on a topic of interest to state legislators. It introduces the topic and points to sources for further research. It is not intended to be exhaustive.
Books and Reports • Articles • Internet Resources • Related State Agencies • Additional Library Resources
This timeline is intended to be a starting point for researching the history of the Minnesota Vikings and professional football stadiums in Minnesota.
1954: 164 acres of farm land in Bloomington is chosen as the site for a major league stadium in the Twin Cities. It appears the Metropolitan Sports Area Commission is officially established by an ownership and operations agreement between Minneapolis and Bloomington entered into on August 13th.
1955: The Minnesota Legislature validates the Metropolitan Sports Area Commission's agreement from August 13, 1954 with the passage of Laws of Minnesota 1955, chapter 445. It is approved on April 15. The Minneapolis Minute Men, predominantly Minneapolis businessmen, help sell the $4.5 million worth of bonds issued by Minneapolis to help finance the stadium. The bonds are to be repaid through revenue generated by the stadium. Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for Metropolitan Stadium (The Met) on June 20th.
1956: The Minneapolis Millers, a minor league baseball team, opens Metropolitan Stadium on April 24th against the Wichita Braves. The seating capacity is about 18,200.
1958: In September, Minneapolis approves $9 million in general obligation bonds to expand the seating capacity to 41,000, if a major league team is signed by January 1, 1959.
1960: The National Football League (NFL) grants a football franchise to Minnesota on January 28th. The franchise group includes Max Winter, E. William Boyer, Ole Haugsrud, Bernard H. Ridder, Jr., and H.P Skoglund. Minneapolis approves $8.5 million in bonds to expand Metropolitan Stadium.
1961: The Minnesota Vikings play their first home game at Metropolitan Stadium on September 10th. They lose this preseason game to the Los Angeles Rams. They then defeat the Chicago Bears in their first regular season home game on September 17th. This same year, the Twins (formerly the Washington Senators) baseball team arrives in Minnesota. The two teams share the stadium.
1965: The Vikings finance the permanent east side grandstand expansion in exchange for stadium rent deduction. It increases the seating capacity from approximately 41,200 to around 47,200 seats and is completed in time for the August 20th preseason game.
1970: The Vikings lose Super Bowl IV to the Kansas City Chiefs on January 11th.
1971: The Vikings voice their dissatisfaction with Metropolitan Stadium, stating it is too old, too cold in winter, and too small at its current capacity of 48,700.
1973: The Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce Stadium Task Force is created in October. The St. Paul Chamber of Commerce Stadium Study Task Force is also created.
1974: The Vikings lose Super Bowl VIII to the Miami Dolphins on January 13th. The Minneapolis and St. Paul task forces release a joint report, Analysis of Stadium Alternatives, Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, in September. They propose a multipurpose, publicly financed, domed stadium.
1975: The Vikings lose Super Bowl IX to the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 12th. The Minnesota Vikings lease agreement at Metropolitan Stadium is set to expire. Governor Wendell Anderson states, in April, that he is convinced that the Vikings and the Twins will leave Minnesota without the passage of legislation for a new stadium.
1976-1977: Stadium politics dominate the Minnesota State Legislature. Governor Wendell Anderson instructs the State Planning Agency to examine stadium proposals. They issue A Report on Sport Stadium Proposals in 1976. Stadium proposals include remodeling Metropolitan Stadium, expansion of the University of Minnesota's Memorial Stadium, building a recessed stadium in Lakeville, building a $28 million open air stadium, and construction of a $126 million multi-purpose domed stadium.
1977: The Vikings lose Super Bowl XI to the Oakland Raiders on January 9th. Governor Rudy Perpich announces support for a covered stadium. The Minnesota Legislature passes and Governor Rudy Perpich signs Laws of Minnesota 1977, chapter 89. It creates the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) and includes financing provisions for sports facilities in the metropolitan area. The legislation doesn't specify a site but it does state that no public money may be used to purchase the land that the stadium will be built on. Employees of the Metropolitan Sports Area Commission are transferred to the MSFC. A seven county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area liquor tax is collected from 1977-1979.
1978: A district judge finds the public debt portion of the bill passed in 1977 unconstitutional since it was not passed by the House and Senate with at least 60% of the votes. Land on the eastern edge of downtown Minneapolis is purchased, late in the year, for approximately $14.5 million which is raised by Twin Cities businesses. In December, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) votes 4-3 for a domed multipurpose facility on this site.
1979: The Minnesota Legislature passes and Governor Al Quie signs Laws of Minnesota 1979, chapter 203 which modifies the 1977 law. They also repeal the seven county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area liquor tax with the passage of Laws of Minnesota 1979, chapter 26. The Metropolitan Council issues public revenue bonds backed by the City of Minneapolis. In addition Minneapolis adopts a 3% liquor sales tax and hotel/motel accomodations tax to assist with stadium operations. Ground is broken for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in December. The stadium will be shared by the Minnesota Vikings football team, the Minnesota Twins baseball team, and the University of Minnesota college football team.
1981: The Vikings lose their last game at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington to the Kansas City Chiefs on December 20th.
1982: The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is completed in April at an approximate cost of $55 million for construction costs. The full cost of the stadium is almost $124 million with the inclusion of nonconstruction costs. The Minnesota Vikings play their first home game at the Metrodome on August 21st. They win this preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. They play their first regular season home game in the Metrodome on September 12th and defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1984: Minneapolis lowers its 3% liquor sales tax and hotel/motel accomodations tax to 2%. This is the last year the tax is utilized.
1985: Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington is demolished.
1989: The H.H.H. Metrodome Retractable Roof Study is completed. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Mall of America shopping center, being built on the former Metropolitan Stadium site, occurs on June 14th.
1992: The NFL's Super Bowl XXVI is played in the Metrodome on January 26th. The Washington Redskins defeat the Buffalo Bills. The Mall of America opens on August 11th.
1996: The Advisory Task Force on Professional Sports in Minnesota releases its Final Report on January 31. A nonbinding professional sport stadium construction referendum is discussed by the Minnesota Legislature in HF 2974/SF 2464. The United States Conference of Mayors and the National Football League Joint Statement of Principles is released.
1997: The Minnesota Legislature introduces HF 107/SF 111. The bills transfer the ownership of the Metrodome to the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins. The bills do not pass. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission releases Analysis of Stadium Options.
1998: The NFL owners approve the sale of the team, for $206 million, to Red McCombs on July 28th. McCombs says the Vikings need a new stadium to be competitive.
1999: In June, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission releases a plan to renovate the Metrodome. The Vikings reject the renovation plan in July. Red McCombs reiterates, in September, that it is unlikely that the Vikings will be able to stay in Minnesota without a new stadium.
2001-2002: The Minnesota Legislature and Governor Jesse Ventura create an 18-member Tripartisan Task Force on Stadium Issues (report and minutes, and video archives), that prepares recommendations for the 2002 Legislature to address stadium concerns of the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, and the University of Minnesota. Football stadium bills introduced in the 2001-2002 session include the following House Files and Senate Files. On February 22, 2002 the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission passes Resolution No. 2002-01 Resolution Memorializing Waiver of Rent and Provision of Advertising Opportunities to the Minnesota Vikings; it is retroactive to 1999.
2003-2004: Governor Tim Pawlenty creates a Stadium Screening Committee (video archives) to provide information, analysis and advice in making a professional stadium proposal for the 2004 legislative session. The Stadium Screening Committee Report to Governor Tim Pawlenty is published February 4, 2004. Football stadium bills introduced in the 2003-2004 session include the following House Files and Senate Files.
2005-2006: The NFL owners approve the sale of the Minnesota Vikings team, for $600 million, to an investment group headed by brothers, Zygmunt "Zygi" and Mark Wilf, on May 25, 2005. The Vikings reach an agreement, in September 2005, with Anoka county to build a new $675 million outdoor stadium in Blaine. The deal requires at least $395 million from taxpayers. Anoka county football stadium bills include the following House Files and Senate Files. Anoka county drops their stadium bid, in November 2006, after the Vikings join a study of possible downtown Minneapolis locations. In 2006, the Minnesota Legislature passes and Governor Tim Pawlenty signs legislation, Laws of Minnesota 2006, chapter 247, which details the funding process for the construction of a new football stadium for the University of Minnesota Gophers football team.
2007-2008: The Vikings team agrees to buy 4 blocks of land near the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis from the Star Tribune newspaper for $45 million in June 2007. They hope to build a $954 million retractable roof stadium. The land purchase deal is revoked by the Vikings in August 2007. A bill, SF 2177, is introduced to finance sports stadiums through a state casino. The bill doesn't pass. In July 2008, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission unveils a plan (HHH Metrodome Reconstruction Analysis, Executive Summary) that reuses parts of the Metrodome to build an $853 million retractable roof stadium in Minneapolis. The University of Minnesota Gophers football team plays its last game in the Metrodome on November 22, 2008.
2009: HF 1303 is introduced to finance a new sports stadium through a state casino. In September 2009, the National Football League releases its Policy and Procedures for Proposed Franchise Relocations. The University of Minnesota Gophers football team plays its first game in the new TCF Bank Stadium on September 12, 2009. The Minnesota Twins baseball team plays its last game in the Metrodome on October 11, 2009. This leaves the Vikings as the sole professional sports team using the Metrodome. The Vikings indicate that they do not intend to extend their lease at the Metrodome after it expires in early 2012. The Vikings owners tell their executives not to sign any contracts beyond that date. In addition progress on the construction of a new professional football stadium in Los Angeles, California is cited by some as a reason for concern that the Vikings team may leave Minnesota. To increase revenue the Vikings owners are allowed to sell naming rights to the field and gates at the Metrodome. Beginning on October 5, 2009 the field officially becomes the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The deal expires on February 28, 2012. Caribou Coffee and the Minnesota Army National Guard sign up to sponsor gates in October. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission's Finance Committee, on November 17th, passes Resolution No. 09-05 Relating to Metrodome Revenue Enhancements, Vikings' Commitments, and Harmonization of Commission-Viking Relations in an attempt to get the Vikings to extend their lease at the Metrodome by two years. The Vikings reject the lease extension option and submit a letter, on November 18th, expressing their displeasure with this resolution. On November 19th, the full MSFC approves the resolution. On December 17th, the HKS and Mortenson Construction Presentation to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission which includes an $870 million stadium proposal, Conventions Sports and Leisure's (CSL) Comparison of Potential Metrodome Development Scenarios, and Comparative Analysis of MSFC/Vikings Use Agreement and the MSFC Proposal for Terms of Extension are released.
2010: HF 2578/SF 2810 are introduced and hearings are held. The bills propose a constitutional amendment to enable casino gambling at a Minnesota horse racetrack, also known as a Racino, to finance a new Vikings stadium. In April and May, a nonpartisan group of legislators conduct informal meetings with Vikings officials. SF 3399/HF 3825 are introduced and hearing are held in May. The original bills include two different options. The first option doesn't specify a stadium site and funding sources include a sports memorabilia tax, a rental car tax, a lodging tax, and a lottery game. The second option is for a stadium in Minneapolis and includes use of the city's hospitality tax, and a lottery game as funding sources. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission releases Findings from Recent Focus Groups, a study conducted by Momentum Analysis. The stadium bill loses momentum after the Supreme Court rules that Governor Tim Pawlenty's unallotment actions in 2009 exceeded his authority. On May 18, 2010, the Minnesota Vikings release a Statement From The Vikings On Stadium Issue. In December, a massive snowstorm contributes to the collapse of the Metrodome roof. The December 20, 2010 Vikings game is played in the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. This is their first home game played outdoors since this same date in 1981. They lose to the Chicago Bears.
2011: On February 10th, The Minnesota Vikings send a letter to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners expressing their interest in exploring the possibility of building a stadium in Arden Hills. On that same date, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission votes to replace the collapsed Metrodome roof. Most of the cost is covered by insurance. On February 14th, several members of the Ramsey County legislative delegation compose a letter to the Ramsey County Commissioners encouraging them to vote against the Arden Hills stadium plan. The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners pass a resolution the next day to pursue it. In early May, Conventions Sports and Leisure (CSL) International, a consulting agency for sports businesses, releases a couple of charts that show projected stadium related debt service compared to tax collections. That same month, Hennepin County officials announce they are not interested in partnering with the Vikings to build a stadium. On May 9th, Minneapolis officials unveil their $895 million stadium plan. The next day the Ramsey County/Minnesota Vikings Principles of Agreement for the Development of a New Multi-Purpose Stadium is announced. The Vikings' deal with Ramsey County to build a retractable roof stadium in Arden Hills is projected to cost over $1 billion. Potential project cost comparisons between the two sites were compiled by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. In late May, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman proposes A Statewide Solution to fund a new stadium. It includes a proposal to close Target Center and move the basketball teams to the Xcel Energy Center. On July 6, the St. Paul City Council passes a resolution opposing the implementation of a Ramsey County sales tax to help fund a new stadium. On October 11, the Ramsey County Charter Commission decides not to let the county residents vote on the proposed 1/2 cent sales tax increase to help fund the Arden Hills stadium. The next day the Metropolitan Council and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission release their Stadium Proposal Risk Analysis report. On October 17th, Governor Mark Dayton announces his intention to call a special session before Thanksgiving to address the stadium issue. On October 27, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson release financing plans for the Linden Avenue Site, the Farmers Market Site, and the Downtown East (Metrodome) Site. In early November, there is talk of a lease extension clause in the Vikings contract that states that if the dome is damaged and they aren't able to play the entire season there, they are obligated to extend their lease by a year. There is speculation that the collapse of the dome's roof during the 2010 snowstorm could trigger the clause. A pre-Thanksgiving special session is not called.
2012: Governor Mark Dayton requests that any stadium proposals be submitted by January 12. Ramsey County (Arden Hills), Minneapolis (Downtown East/Metrodome site), and Shakopee are among the ten proposals submitted. On March 1, the Downtown East Stadium Finance Plan, and Overview of Stadium Development and Operating Terms Minneapolis Downtown East Site are released. Several stadium related House Files and Senate Files are introduced and heard in 2011-2012. HF 2810/SF 2391 has the most hearings in 2012. On April 23, the House Ways and Means Committee amends the stadium language from HF 2810 into HF 1485. On May 7, 2012, both the House and Senate pass bills that provide financing for a Vikings stadium on the Metrodome site in Minneapolis. The House passes HF 1485 and the Senate passes SF 2391. Differences in the two bills are resolved in the stadium conference committee on HF 2958. On May 9, 2012, the House gives final passage to HF 2958 (71 yes - 60 no). Senate final passage of HF 2958 occurs on the following day, May 10, 2012 (36 yes - 30 no). In addition to financing, the bill creates the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and abolishes the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commisssion. A full description of the final stadium agreement is contained in a publication from the House Fiscal Analysis Department, Minnesota Vikings Stadium: A Summary of Actions by 2012 Legislature. On August 13, 2012, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority issues a Request for Proposals for the design and construction of a new stadium. A Preliminary Master Project Schedule is released on the same day. On September 28, 2012, an agreement for HKS Inc., a Dallas-based architectural and engineering firm, to design the stadium is announced.
2013: In early 2013 reports begin surfacing that e-pulltab revenues, a major source for the state's portion of funding for the stadium, are falling far short of projections. The Associated Press reports in February that the games are installed in 140 bars, while the goal had been 2,500 by the previous October. The Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority announce on February 15, 2013, the signing of Mortenson Construction of Golden Valley to provide construction services for the new stadium. On May 13, the design plans for the new stadium are revealed. A one-time cigarette tax hike is passed on May 20 as part of an omnibus tax bill to help cover bond payments on the new stadium. In late August it is announced that the one-time tax has brought in $30 million. Revenues remaining after bond payments go into the state's general fund. More details about the bonds (including a nice summary in Appendix F) are included in a 2014 report by Minnesota Management & Budget. The signing of a final agreement with the Vikings is delayed because of legal troubles the Wilf family is facing. A due diligence review is initiated to ensure the owners can meet their obligations for stadium funding. The stadium design is approved by the Minneapolis Planning Commission in mid-August. In early September the state review finds that the Wilf's finances are sufficient regardless of the results of their lawsuit. (In late September a New Jersey judge orders the Wilfs to pay $84.5 million in damages to their former partners.) On October 3, a construction financing agreement is signed. The agreement specifies, in part, $100 million to be paid by season ticket holders through seat license purchasing, and $100 million to be paid by the owners. A personal seat license reserves the holder's right to buy season tickets for the specific seats. In late November the Vikings agree to contribute more funds to construction in order to ensure that "the new stadium retains its iconic design and multiple fan amenities necessary for the overall experience." On December 3, the Vikings held a ceremonial ground-breaking outside the Metrodome.
2014: Metrodome demolition begins in January. Minnesota's Supreme Court dismisses a lawsuit challenging the funding plan for a new Vikings football stadium on January 21, 2014. In April, Minneapolis places a bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl, stirring up controversy over potential tax breaks that may be offered to the NFL. On May 20, Minneapolis is awarded the 2018 Super Bowl. The Vikings 2014 and 2015 football seasons are hosted at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority spends approximately $6.6 million making improvements to the TCF Bank Stadium in anticipation of the Vikings' tenure there. The Vikings' presence is expected to be an economic boon for the Stadium Village area. In Minneapolis, ongoing negotiation and conflict arises over property development in the area surrounding the new Vikings stadium. The ownership and management of the proposed park next to the stadium is unclear until a deal is worked out for the city of Minneapolis to lease the property from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. The Vikings would have exclusive use of the park for up to 100 days per year. In fall of 2014, advocates begin protesting the use of glass in the new stadium over concerns that it would be dangerous to migratory birds that follow the Mississippi River.
2015: The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority rejects the appeal to install "fritted" glass to deter birds from flying into the new stadium; however the MSFA agrees to consider the possibility of using a glass film produced by Minnesota company 3M. A bill (HF1984) for bird-safe stadium glass is introduced, but doesn't pass, in the Minnesota Legislature. The roof is 240,000 square feet of ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) - the only stadium in the U.S. with this type of clear roof. In March, the MSFA announces that it will have to purchase additional land from the city in order to comply with the NFL's 100ft security perimeter around the stadium; the perimeter would include portions of both 4th and 5th streets in downtown Minneapolis. In May, detailed plans for the park near the stadium are released and the Met Council approves a $6 million pedestrian bridge (the cost later raises to $9.65 million) to the stadium that would enable stadium-goers to bypass crossing the light rail tracks below. The bridge was originally controversial because it was going to be funded solely with public dollars, but eventually the Vikings agreed to pay for part of the project. As of November 2015, the Met Council will pay $4 million and the Vikings' will pay no more than $6 million for the bridge. On June 15, 2015, the Vikings announce that naming rights for the stadium have been awarded to U.S. Bancorp. The stadium will be known as U.S. Bank Stadium. As of June 19, 2015, the estimated total cost is $1.1 billion; the team contributes $572 million and and the public contributes $498 million to the new stadium ($348 million from the state and $150 million from the city of Minneapolis). The building was estimated at $1.026 billion in December of 2014, but has risen to $1.091 billion by December 2015. The Vikings take on these extra costs. In August, work on the stadium halts as two men working on the roof are involved in an accident. One is seriously injured while the other falls 50 feet to his death. The project has employed about 1,300 at its peak with 37% of the workers being minorities. At the end of 2015, U.S. Bank Stadium is 85 percent complete and slated to open in July of 2016.
2016: This was the most expensive public-private project in Minnesota's history at $1.1 billion dollars; state taxpayers contributed $348 million, Minneapolis paid $150 million, and the owners of the Vikings (the Wifs') paid $602 million. There were $16.8 million disputed costs, but the MSFA, construction, and design teams had set up a mediation process. The project was completed 6 weeks ahead of schedule. The MSFA also approved a long-term capital budget to maintain the stadium: $32 million over the next five years. Control of the new U.S. Bank Stadium was transferred from Mortenson Construction to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority on June 17. The official ceremony and open house was held on July 22. As a result of the Minnesota Department of Labor's OHSA investigation of the situation where one worker fell to his death and the other was injured, Mortenson and the subcontractor, Berwald Roofing, were fined $173,000. There were continued concerns that the glass poses a danger to bird populations. The MSFA announced they would conduct a multi-year study of the impact of the stadium on migratory birds. In late November, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority was criticized for allowing friends and family free access to luxury suites. Many of those guests reimbursed the MSFA for the cost of the seats, but criticism of the policy remained. The MSFA's policy on use of the two luxury suites changed in December.
2017: Public interest in the use of the suites continued into 2017. In February, the Office of the Legislative Auditor released a special review report about the use of the suites. The report concluded that stadium suite use was unethical. Although the 2017 legislative session included several bill introductions to address issues related to the Authority, a bill (HF778/SF626), which would have significantly modified the Authority's structure and operations, made it the furthest. A conference committee convened to discuss that bill. However, there was no final action in 2017. In fall of 2017, the stadium's contract with Monterrey Security Consultants, Inc. was terminated because of the security company's failure to comply with state laws regarding employment and training. Monterrey's state licensure was not renewed.
2018: Discussion of the Vikings stadium reserve funds came to the forefront because electronic pulltabs (e-pulltabs) revenue was forecasted to increase significantly again over the next few years. Currently, e-pulltab revenue is placed in the stadium reserve. Rep. Sarah Anderson, chair of the House State Government Finance Committee pushed for use of the funds to build three new veterans homes. Governor Dayton pushed for the funds to remain in the stadium reserve. Chair Anderson delivered a letter to Governor Dayton regarding her position and the status of SF3656. SF3656 was vetoed by Governor Dayton.
2020: The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority was involved in mediation over a building issue regarding leaks in the black zinc panels. Discussion of the use of the Vikings stadium reserve funds continued through the year.
2021: Mediation regarding the leaking panels concluded without any new public money spent on repairs. The MSFA renegotiated the terms of their agreement with the management company, ASM Global, because of pandemic-related cancelations. The ASM contract does not include the Vikings.
2022: As the stadium reserve account has continued to grow, there were efforts in the Legislature to make advance payments. The bill, SF3266 aimed to pay the debt early - by 2027, which is about 16 years early. It did not pass.
Significant Books and Reports
(books and reports in reverse chronological order.)