In the wee hours of the morning, the Minnesota House passed the Vikings stadium bill by a vote of 71-60. The bill reached the floor around 1:30 a.m., and was voted on and passed around 3:30 a.m.
The House passing the bill means the Senate will vote sometime today. The bill has undergone a few face lifts, including the final version. It is the conference committee version that will be voted on by the Senate.
In short, the new bill called for the Vikings to be responsible for another $50 million, making their contribution now $477 million, instead of the previous $427 million.
This will drop the state's contribution down to $348 million, with the city of Minneapolis still paying $150 million.
"The Vikings and the Wilfs have stepped up," Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said. "We've made a commitment to secure this franchise."
Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf decided to pay the extra $50 million the state demanded rather than try to hold out for a better deal, in no small part due to the legislature only having two days to act.
If you're a Vikings fan, you have to be happy that your team's owners stepped up and footed a huge bill at the last second in order to keep the franchise where it belongs, in Minnesota.
In an environment as cutthroat as professional sports ownership, where the common theme is "what's in it for me?", the Wilfs have embodied the true spirit of being a Minnesotan. They acted in the best interest of the state of Minnesota and its fanbase, not their wallets. For me, this is a very refreshing thing to see, especially nowadays.
With just the Senate vote needed to get this stadium deal inked and finalized, all of Minnesota will be checking the Internet and television throughout the day to see what the latest is.
If the Senate does pass the bill, as they are generally expected to do now that it made it through the House, it will end up on Governor Mark Dayton's desk for the final signature. Dayton has been one of the stadium's biggest supporters, so if the Senate passes the bill, it's a done deal.
As we wait to see what the vote will be, I can't help but daydream about this fantastic new home the purple would be christening in 2016. Hopefully then the Vikings will be a playoff team, and Minnesota will have a great new venue to cheer them on.
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