Next season will be the Minnesota Vikings' last in the 31-year-old Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and fans of the purple and gold can look forward to blue lips and red cheeks as they shiver through two seasons of old-school, outdoor football, the Associated Press reports.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said Friday that the team plans to play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, while the team's new stadium gets built at the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis.
Team officials and the state authority overseeing construction convened at the dome Friday to finalize the deal for Minneapolis firm Mortenson Construction to earn $12.5 million to build the new stadium. That fee could reach $15 million if the firm meets performance incentives, but could be lowered if the construction lags. Mortenson also built the Minnesota Twins' Target Field, and TCF Bank Stadium on the university campus.
The Vikings had hoped to play only one season at the outdoor stadium, which is about a 10-minute drive from the Metrodome. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority had looked into starting construction while the Metrodome still stood, but authority chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen said that proved too difficult.
Plans now call for the Metrodome to be torn down in February 2014 and for the new stadium to be ready to open by July 1, 2016.
"The Vikings are operating under the assumption that 2013 is our last season in the Metrodome," Bagley said. A spokesman for the University of Minnesota didn't immediately respond to a phone message Friday.
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