PHOENIX -- We have a bit of business to address from the first official day of the NFL owners meeting.
As expected, the league's full ownership approved a $200 million "G-4" loan to the Minnesota Vikings' stadium financing plan. The money counts as part of the Vikings' private $477 million contribution to the $975 million project, and it is re-paid from the visiting team's share of club seat revenues in the new stadium. The loan is available to all teams who build new stadiums or do major renovations and does not impact the public's $498 million contribution.
The Vikings will play one final season in the Metrodome in 2013 before moving to TCF Bank Stadium for 2014 and 2015. The new stadium is expected to be ready in time for the 2016 season.
Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf said negotiations are still underway on details of the stadium design, including whether there will be a retractable roof. The team also needs to reach a formal agreement with the University of Minnesota on use of the stadium, meaning that work required to make the structure NFL-ready will likely take place after the school's 2013 football schedule is completed.