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Lanning: No Vikings deal yet

MINNEAPOLIS - The chief House author of Minnesota Vikings stadium legislation said Friday night no agreement has been reached on a new stadium deal, contrary to media reports.

Reached by phone Friday night, Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said he was "very perturbed" by reports quoting unnamed anonymous sources that an agreement was struck between the Vikings, the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota.

The Star Tribune reported the stadium, which would be located on or near the site of the 30-year-old Metrodome, would cost $975 million, with the Vikings paying $427 million of that. Minneapolis would contribute $150 million, and Minnesota would pay $398 million.

Lanning said he had not seen the dollar amounts that were quoted in the Star Tribune report.

"In the Legislature, we have not been told anything other than that negotiations are continuing," he said, calling the reports "nothing short of irresponsible."

A separate report Friday by the St. Paul Pioneer Press said sources close to the negotiations were predicting an agreement would be announced on Tuesday, but Lanning said he didn't know when a deal might get done.

"I can't put any timetable to it. I don't know," he said. "Everybody's working hard to try to get something pulled together."

Lanning said a potential agreement between the Vikings and the city would be a big step in finalizing a stadium deal but not the end of the process.

Any deal would first need to have the support of the Minneapolis City Council, but it's not clear that Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who has been pushing for the Metrodome site, would have enough support from the City Council.

"Everyone needs to understand that until there's a majority vote of the Minneapolis City Council in support of this agreement, there's no deal," he said.

If approved by the City Council, the deal would then advance to the Legislature before becoming reality.

The Vikings originally wanted a northern Ramsey County location for the new stadium, but when funding plans fell through, the team began talking to Minneapolis.

SAM BENSHOOF is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The Forum and The Bemidji Pioneer are both owned by Forum Communications Co. Forum Communications Co. reporter Don Davis contributed to this report