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Vikings break off stadium talks

Vikings Stadium Football

This handout released by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and the Minnesota Vikings shows the new Minnesota Vikings stadium in this rendering done by HKS Sports and Entertainment Group and released Monday, May 13, 2013. The yet-to-be-named facility, which will open in 2016 and replace the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, will have a translucent roof and louvered front windows to let as much natural light in as possible. Construction will begin later this year. (AP Photo/HKS)


The headline makes the situation look worse than it is, but three weeks ago it would have been inconceivable.

According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, the Vikings have broken off talks aimed at finalizing the team’s new stadium pending resolution of an investigation regarding the owners of the franchise.

The development potentially will delay groundbreaking for the stadium, which currently is set for November 7. To stay on track, the stadium deal needs to be finalized by September 15.

There’s a concern that, if the construction doesn’t begin in November 2012, the stadium may not be ready in time for the 2016 season.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority decided in the wake of a New Jersey lawsuit resulting in a finding of fraud and civil racketeering by owners Zygi and Mark Wilf to investigate the Wilfs. The Vikings and the Wilfs surely aren’t happy about that. And the one way they can exert a little leverage is to say, essentially, “Once you decide you can trust us again, we’ll talk.”

Plenty of additional dominoes have to fall before the stadium deal blows up and the Vikings join the Lakers in Los Angeles. But the chances of that happening are a lot more significant than they were last month at this time, when the possibility of the Vikings leaving was nil.