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Stadium contract not final, but tens of millions already spent

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The final contracts for stadium construction are on hold, but Minnesota has already traveled tens of millions of dollars down the road to a new home for the Vikings.

The Associated Press reports nearly two dozen contracts have been signed with architects, lawyers, engineers, and consultants. The big-ticket item so far is the $34 million paid to an architecture firm, but the AP says the highest-paid consultants are commanding nearly $400 an hour.

Does that mean we've reached the point of no return? The chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says no but tells the AP that tipping point will probably arrive in early November.

The question is germane because the authority decided last week to postpone a final agreement with Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf until a closer examination of their financial practices is complete.

That audit was prompted by a judge's ruling that the Wilfs defrauded their business partners in a New Jersey real estate deal more than 20 years ago. That ruling unnerved state officials - including Gov. Mark Dayton - and led to the hiring of an attorney to more closely scrutinize the Wilfs' business practices before Minnesota locks in to the stadium deal.

Final contract approval was originally scheduled for Friday. There's no new timeline but the parties involved still look excited about the new stadium, judging from the websites of the Vikings and the Sports Facilities Authority.

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