Good evening, everyone. Just wanted to set the table for you as best we can on what might be another late night of Minnesota Vikings stadium intrigue.
The legislative conference committee is scheduled to open its formal discussions on merging the two stadium bills at 10 p.m. ET. As we noted earlier, there have been private meetings going on for most of the day and it's reasonable to assume much of the heavy lifting has been done already.
Indeed, both the state House of Representatives and Senate are scheduled to convene at 11 p.m. ET, presumably to be in position to approve the merged bill passed out of the conference committee. If that all happens, the final step in the process would be to send the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton for his final signature.
The big question is whether, or how much, the Vikings have agreed to raise their contribution. Both versions of the bill called for a higher total than their original $427 million. The House asked for $532 million and the Senate asked for $452 million. Again, it's reasonable to expect the total to wind up somewhere in between if a deal is to be completed Wednesday night.
I'll keep an eye on it for a while but I'm not committing to sitting it out through the duration. Stay tuned on that.
*Update: The merged bill is complete and has been posted online. It pegs the Vikings' total at $477 million, or $50 million more than they had originally committed. It's not yet clear if the Vikings have agreed to that total.