Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 4/3/12
EDINA, Minn. The latest in the Minnesota Vikings' fight for a new stadium has team co-owner and president Mark Wilf encouraged but cautious.A month after the latest stadium proposal was agreed upon by key legislators and Vikings officials; progress was made on two fronts this week leading to increased possibility a bill will be voted on and approved during this session of congress.The bill advanced through the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee on Monday, the first of several steps as it goes through House and Senate committees before a final vote on each side and goes to Governor Mark Dayton. According to the Associated Press, the bill is also now supported by a group representing charitable gaming after the proposal was altered to include backup scenarios if the gambling revenue doesn't cover the cost of stadium bonds in a given years.Concern over the stability of the charitable gaming funds, coming from the sale of electronic pull-tabs had held the bill up in the House, according to a report from the AP. But the AP reported that House sponsor, Rep. Morrie Lanning, said key House Republicans and members of Speaker Kurt Zellers' staff were involved in crafting the newest bill."We're very excited about the project in a lot of ways, and yesterday was an encouraging, positive step," Wilf said. "But there's a lot of work ahead of us and, again, we're cautiously optimistic. But, again, there's a lot of the process left to go."Reportedly, there is majority support in the Minneapolis City Council as well.At the beginning of March an agreement was announced between the Vikings, congressional leaders and Dayton that called for a 975 million stadium, with the Vikings covering 427 million of the costs. The state would be responsible for 398 million and the city of Minneapolis 150 million. The city would also have to pay 188.7 million in operating costs over the next 30 years. The Vikings would add 327.1 million in operating costs.Meanwhile, the Vikings released several new conceptual images Monday of the stadium, which would be located on a site using much of the current Metrodome land."This is something that we believe very strongly for our franchise and for our fans is something important to stabilize the franchise and then make us competitive moving forward," Wilf said. "Obviously, it's a tremendous benefit for the public as well. So, it's an exciting project, and we're still in the midst of the process and we're not looking back. We're looking forward to hopefully a positive outcome here."The Wilfs are continuing a stadium push that has been a decade in the making. After the Vikings lease in the Metrodome ended following the season, ownership could have chosen to move the team. But the Wilfs agreed to play in the Metrodome for the 2012 season while this latest bill makes its way through Congress. Mark Wilf is cautiously optimistic this is the final stretch to landing the long-discussed new stadium."This bill has to go through the legislative process," he said. "Obviously we have some concerns, but those things will be fine-tuned hopefully as we go through this process."The next few weeks will be key if an agreement is going to take place this year and not be passed off to the next legislative session."That's up to the legislature and the political process to take its course," Wilf said of the timeframe for a deal. "Again, we're hopeful we can resolve this issue this session."Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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