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Some clues emerge about design of Vikings stadium

FILE - This July 6, 2008, file photo, provided by the Beijing Tourism Administration shows China's National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, in Beijing. The new Minnesota Vikings NFL football stadium in Minneapolis might bear some resemblance to the translucent exterior through the use of EFTE, a translucent architectural polymer that allows sunshine to stream in by day. (AP Photo/Beijing Tourism Administration, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Some clues are emerging about the closely guarded design of the $975 million new home for the Minnesota Vikings.

The stadium will be taller and bigger than the Metrodome it's replacing and will have a sloped roof. It may or may not feature a retractable roof or retractable walls that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline. It also might bear some resemblance to the translucent exterior of the Beijing National Aquatics Center, commonly known as the Water Cube, from the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Those are among the details contained in a nearly 400-page draft environmental impact statement released Monday by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

"Draft design plans reveal that the new stadium would be a bold, iconic, geometric structure with long sloping, angular facets that are primarily directed toward the downtown Minneapolis skyline," the draft EIS says.

The authority's chairwoman, Michele Kelm-Helgen, said the new document contains a lot of options that have yet to be decided as the team and authority try to nail down what can be built within the 65,500-seat stadium's budget.

"I wouldn't assume all those things are in or out or settled on," she said.

Any resemblance to the Water Cube would come through the use of ETFE, a translucent architectural polymer that gives the Beijing aquatic center and the main soccer stadium in Munich, Germany, their distinctive appearances, either lit up at night or allowing sunshine to stream in by day. The document also mentions using Minnesota-quarried Kasota limestone in the facade, the same stone featured in the Twins' Target Field.

Planners are also looking at two configurations for a plaza on the west side of the stadium. One would run north-south while the other would run east-west.