A late entry in the Vikings stadium game: Kraus-Anderson Construction Co.

Kraus-Anderson’s logo, from the firm’s website

Days from the scheduled selection of a builder for the new Vikings stadium, Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson says it’s among the final contenders to win the job from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

Chief operating officer Alan Gerhardt said in an interview today that his firm, based just five blocks from the stadium site, interviewed separately to bid on the work. Kraus-Anderson has long been considered a joint-venture prospect, but didn’t put in a formal proposal of its own.

But Gerhardt says Kraus-Anderson, known in the trade as “KA” has been talking to one of the two finalists, Arizona-based Hunt Construction Group for four years, and that Hunt and KA inked a joint venture deal on Wednesday.

He says Hunt brings the experience from nine other football stadiums, including a half dozen with “operable” roofs. But as Gerhardt describes it, KA will actually be doing the heavy lifting for the Hunt bid.

“Sometimes people think if you hire an outside firm, ‘Oh, we’re losing a bunch of jobs’ Actually its about 35 jobs out of 7,000,” Gerhardt said. “And we think its a great value trade-off to get that kind of expertise and give up half a percent of the available jobs on this project. And we think that no matter who builds this, there will be a certain amount of trade work that will likely not be available locally. But that’s going to be the same no matter who builds it. We think about 84 percent of the work can be procured locally.”

Gerhardt says KA has previously overseen more than a billion dollars worth of work at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. The firm built the Regions Hospital addition, the Amplatz Children’s Hospital for the U of M, and the 40-story downtown Minneapolis building now known as the RBC Plaza.

KA also is where the state’s former Department of Employment and Economic Development commissioner, Mark Phillips, returned as the director of business development.

The other finalist in the race for the billion-dollar stadium project, Mortenson Construction, has a track record in local sports venues. The Minneapolis-based company built Target Center, TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field. Mortenson was selected in 2008 to build a new NFL stadium in Minneapolis by the now-defunct Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. That was before the current project won approval at the Capitol, though.

And KA’s Gerhardt says his firm can’t be counted out yet: “We think this is our city. This is our neighborhood, and we think its our turn.”

They’ll have to wait a little longer to find out if it is, since the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says it is putting off a selection of a construction manager until next week.

Here’s their release: