It’s ‘Game Day’ for Vikings stadium

Vikings fans and union members rally in the Capitol rotunda in support of a stadium bill.

A game-day atmosphere filled the Capitol rotunda today, as the Minnesota Vikings staged a pep rally with fans, union members and current and former players. They urged state lawmakers to pass a bill funding construction of a new stadium in Minneapolis – and creating an estimated 13,000 jobs.

Vikings fans dressed in purple jerseys mingled with Building Trades members in hard hats and bright yellow safety vests. Together, they sung the team’s fight song and chanted pro-stadium slogans, like “Build it!” and “We need jobs!”

The diverse blend of people clamoring for the stadium bill, which was scheduled for a vote on the House floor later in the day, reflects the bipartisan support behind it, said Viking spokesperson Lester Bagley.

“We’re at the final stage of the process, and legislators on both sides of the aisle have heard from corner to corner throughout the state of Minnesota that it’s time to get the job done,” Bagley said. “And let’s get it done.”

Rep. Rod Hamilton, a Republican, put it this way: “We’re not a red state. We’re not a blue state. We are a purple state.”

The loudest cheers of the afternoon, however, went to five former and current Vikings, including quarterback Christian Ponder, tight end Kyle Rudolph, defensive end Brian Robison, center John Sullivan and former running back Chuck Foreman.

Ponder said he showed up at the Capitol to “thank the greatest fans in the world” for their work to keep the team in Minnesota.

“These four outstanding athletes are here because they care about the stadium because they want to remain Minnesota Vikings,” said Gov. Mark Dayton. “And I want them to be Minnesota Vikings for their entire careers.”

The pep rally capped a big, four-day lobbying push by the team and its partners in the labor community.

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