Report: Goodell warns Minnesota
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has warned the state of Minnesota of "serious consequences" if legislators cannot pass a bill this year to fund a new stadium for the Vikings.
According to NFL.com, Goodell relayed his concerns to Governor Mark Dayton Wednesday, and the two are set to speak again Thursday, joined by Steelers president Art Rooney II, chairman of the NFL stadium committee.
Dayton trumpeted a plan to build a $975 million stadium for the Vikings on March 1, urging state legislators to approve a bill for the financing during the spring session.
But earlier this week a Minnesota House committee rejected the plan to commit nearly $400 million in state funds, meaning passage will not come in the current legislative session.
Though Dayton said there will be no new taxes needed to fund the stadium, lawmakers are wary of committing to the spending in an election year. The governor is still hoping he can revive the bill this year, possibly in a special session after November's elections.
The Vikings, who have committed to playing in the Metrodome in 2012 even though the lease is expired, have long been rumored as a candidate to move to Los Angeles if the state does not move forward on a new stadium.
A senior NFL executive told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the current situation is "ripe for change."
"I don't know if that means a sale. I don't know if that means a move. You have a very dejected ownership," said Eric Grubman, the league's executive vice president of finance and strategic transactions.
He said owner Zygi Wilf has not yet expressed a desire to sell the team, but added, "I think there is a point where they probably would be open-minded to listening to alternatives."
The need for a new stadium became all the more evident in Dec. 2010 when part of the 30-year-old dome's roof collapsed under the weight of snow, though fortunately the building was empty at the time.