The Vikings broke ground on the new stadium today. Shovels went in the ground as team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, running back Adrian Peterson, Governor Mark Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and others did the honors in a parking lot on the east side of the Metrodome.
"It's very exciting. A lot of hard work from a lot of people," Vikings President Mark Wilf said in an interview with KFAN-FM 100.3. "Everyone coming together and really doing something that the fans and Minnesotans will be able to celebrate and enjoy for generations to come."
"I think this is going to be one, if not the finest stadium in the United States," Wilf added.
Despite the excitement among the team and fans, leaders of conservative groups raised concerns about the state's funding of the stadium.
"This coming legislative session, I think we can expect to see taxpayers get hit again for this," Minnesota Majority President Dan McGrath said, via the Pioneer Press.
Part of the state's funding is supposed to be provided through taxes on electronic pulltabs and bingo, but with projections falling short of expectations, McGrath speculated the shortfall would be made up with more taxpayer dollars.
Minnesota will pay $348 million of the $975 million stadium. The Wilfs will provide $477 million while the city of Minneapolis will foot $150 million of the bill.
The Wilfs recently stepped forward by committing an additional $41.4 million to ensure the "fan experience" won't take a hit if the $975 million stadium budget exceeds expectations.
The Metrdome roof will be deflated in mid-January, with the structure itself coming down in pieces in the months to follow.