The Minnesota Vikings officially broke ground on their new football stadium Tuesday morning, as noted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. There was a ceremony to get the $1 billion project underway, not too far from the Metrodome, where Minnesota has played for decades.
Minnesota governor Mark Dayton said it was "truly a historic day for the state of Minnesota." Given the struggles that came with getting the whole operation off the ground, his statement is not too bold. The team resulted to threats about potentially moving had a new stadium deal not been reached, and multiple official deadlines to get a deal approved actually passed before something was thrown together in the end.
"I can't believe it's over and I can't believe we won," Dayton said. The stadium faced support and opposition from just about every side, and multiple proposals were burned through before this one was approved.
Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak was also speaking at the event, and quipped that "democracy sometimes includes painting your face and wearing horns."
Tuesday's ceremony included the first scoops of dirt on the southwest corner of the Metrodome's back parking lot. Obviously, it's a symbolic gesture more than anything. Work on the stadium will begin proper later this month, and the Metrodome demolition will begin in late January or early February.
The Vikings will play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota football team. All sides hope the new stadium will be complete in advance of the 2016-17 NFL season.