ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) —Top National Football League officials will be at the Minnesota State Capitol Friday for what’s billed as a last-ditch effort to keep the Vikings in Minnesota.
For now, a Vikings stadium bill is dead at the Capitol, with only a handful of days left in the session.
Gov. Mark Dayton says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet with top Minnesota lawmakers Friday on the status of the stadium.
Dayton described previous discussions with the NFL as “sobering” and “serious,” and is warning state lawmakers the Vikings are in danger of leaving the state.
“It was very clear that they see the Vikings will be ‘in play” if this is unresolved, or unfavorably unresolved in this session,” said Dayton.
Dayton said the NFL Commissioner specifically cited the case of the Cleveland Browns, who left that city in 1995 because of a stadium impasse, as well as other more recent teams.
“Take the L.A. Rams, who are now in St. Louis,” he said. “Or the St Louis Cardinals, who are now in Arizona. And there are other teams, too, and very much for reasons like this.”
At the Minnesota State Capitol, the Senate will try to revive the bill as soon as Friday.
Minority Democrats are pledging to put up the votes necessary to keep it alive for now.
“I don’t think I should have to lift quite this heavy, being in the minority,” said Senator Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, the Senate Minority Leader. “But I guess if they (Republican Majority) are not going to provide the leadership and move this along, I’m simply gonna have to.”
The Vikings are pushing for a new $975 million stadium facility in Minneapolis on the site of the current Metrodome.
The team promised to kick in $427 million.
The city contributes $150 million, and the state’s $398 million share would be funded by gambling money — most likely electronic pull tabs.
“Any stadium bill that we have here is probably going to involve gaming,” said Senator David Senjem, R-Rochester, the Senatoe Majority Leader. “So if you don’t agree with that, you’d better start agreeing, or give up the idea of a stadium.”
Goodell will be accompanied to the Capitol by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney, head of the NFL owners Stadium Committee.
The Wilf family, which owns the Vikings, will not be present at the meeting.