|The Vikings have one game left before their lease at the 30-year-old Metrodome expires. (Getty Images)|
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings officials insist their first choice for a stadium remains the St. Paul suburb of Arden Hills, but they also are taking a closer look at a site in downtown Minneapolis.
The Star Tribune reported Friday that the team is conducting a traffic analysis of the property, called the Linden Avenue site, near the Basilica of St. Mary because the property's ability to house a stadium was relatively unknown. The $1.03 billion proposal is the least known of the team's possible new homes.
Three sites in Minneapolis are being promoted for a new Vikings stadium: the $1.04 billion Farmers Market site, the Linden Avenue property and the Metrodome site. The last is where the team has played for nearly 30 years and, at $895 million, is seen as the least expensive option.
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Vikings and Ramsey County officials tentatively have put the cost of an Arden Hills stadium at $1.1 billion.
Lester Bagley is the team's vice president for stadium development and public affairs. He said the team does not yet have a preferred stadium site in Minneapolis, but said the proposed Farmers Market property has "significant" challenges.
The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome expires at the end of the year. The stadium's location is one of the project's biggest unresolved hurdles along with how to publicly fund its construction.
With the Legislature set to convene Jan. 24, and with Gov. Mark Dayton and others expected to push again for a public subsidy package for a new stadium, the jockeying over a stadium site is expected to intensify in the first weeks of January.
Ted Mondale, Dayton's chief stadium negotiator, said the Linden Avenue site "has a lot of possibilities" but added that all four sites being discussed for a new stadium have strengths and weaknesses.
The team and state and local officials were moving closer to selecting a site, he said.
"If we're not talking about [one] site in mid-January, we're behind," Mondale said Thursday.