MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell requested a meeting earlier in the day with Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton regarding the team’s drive for a new stadium. The Vikings had been lobbying for a new place to play for more than a decade before the Metrodome’s roof collapsed under the weight of last weekend’s blizzard.
Goodell also met with business leaders, union leaders and state legislators. He said he’ll help however he can.
“I think there’s a recognition that we need to find a long-term solution for the Vikings here, get a new stadium built, and we’re all going to work together,” commissioner said.
Dayton said before the meeting that Goodell will have a “crucial” role in the process.
“If it’s a good deal for the people of Minnesota, I’ll support it,” Dayton said. “If the financial benefits of 8,000 construction jobs, the taxes they pay, the additional revenues from contractors, subcontractors, all of the financial gains to the state of Minnesota exceed the costs, then it’s a good deal for the people of Minnesota.”
Two separate groups in Los Angeles are aiming to build stadiums there. The Vikings have a lease at the Metrodome through next season. But Goodell said he “certainly” hopes the franchise would not be relocated.
“Our focus is entirely on making sure they’re successful here in this market,” Goodell said.
Goodell stopped by the Metrodome to see the damage and called it “quite startling.” Because the focus has been on getting the stadium at the University of Minnesota ready, Goodell said, it was too early to assess the Metrodome’s status for next season.
Players from both the Bears and the Vikings voiced worry this week about the safety of the turf at TCF Bank Stadium, the University of Minnesota’s home field, but Goodell said experts have signed off on the condition and expressed no concern about it.
“We have great respect for the players,” Goodell said. “They’re a part of developing these rules and focusing on the techniques that we think should be eliminated from the game. We’ll continue to make sure that the rules are enforced to make the game as safe as possible.”
Goodell also addressed the status of the league’s labor talks with the players’ union, given the lack of a collective bargaining agreement in place for next season.
“We’re not as close as I’d like to be. We have a lot more work to be done,” Goodell said. “We have time to get it done, but it’s going to need a very concerted effort to get that done.”
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WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler Reports