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If the deal can survive Minneapolis politics, that still leaves a heavy lift to get majority support in the state House and Senate. A stadium bill would likely be vetted by multiple committees, some of which are chaired by tax and spending skeptics. GOP leaders, particularly House Speaker Kurt Zellers, have refused to assign the same urgency to a stadium vote this year as the project’s supporters would like.

Last month, Dayton criticized unidentified lawmakers for what he said was a reluctance to vote on a stadium bill this year and a desire to wait until after this fall’s election. Dayton encouraged a vote in the current session, which must end by April 30, but nothing requires lawmakers to act this year.

The NFL would also have to approve any stadium deal since part of the Vikings‘ share would likely come from a league funding program to help build new facilities around the NFL.

For years, Vikings fans have pondered the threat of losing their beloved, bedeviling team, which began in 1961, if the Metrodome isn’t eventually replaced. Minnesota sports fans know all about losing professional franchises; the Lakers moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s and became an NBA powerhouse. The NHL’s North Stars left for Dallas in 1993.

For now, though, the threat of the Vikings actually leaving is a mild one. The team has refused to acknowledge interest in moving while confirming previous contact from interested groups including developers in Los Angeles. Stadium projects there are planned but not under way without the promise of a new team; the NFL’s deadline for relocation application already passed for 2012, and Commissioner Roger Goodell recently stressed the league’s desire to put an expansion team in Los Angeles rather than one in an existing market.


Associated Press writers Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee and Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed to this report.