With Top NFL Officials Arriving, Vikings Stadium Bill Inches Forward But Still Has Long Way To Go
Roger Goddell is now in Minneapolis, showing just how serious this matter is to the state of Minnesota and the NFL. I respect Mr. Goddell a lot and I think he will be shocked at the lack of understanding some of the politicians have in Minneapolis. Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington who opposes the bill wants to know if Governor Mark Dayton called Roger Goddell or if he came on his own. Ann, WHO CARES?! This is a major issue that needs your complete understanding and you’re tied up in who called who? This isn’t high school student council, where I’m sure you completely rocked. This just illustrates how out of focus some of the politicians are on not just this, but a myriad of issues.
While this visit by NFL brass may not get a deal done, I would hope it could help educate some of our leaders at the very least.
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s arrival Friday at the state Capitol to personally lobby for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium may already be creating some political movement.
Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday morning the NFL commissioner would meet with Republican and DFL leaders Friday, and that Art Rooney II, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chair of the league’s stadium committee, would also be attending.
“They didn’t issue any threats or anything, but it was more of a warning” that the Vikings might leave Minnesota, Dayton told reporters outside his state Capitol office. “It was very clear that they see that the Vikings will be in play [to move] if this is not resolved or unfavorably resolved in this session.”
With the Republican-led Legislature moving quickly toward adjournment for the spring, Goodell’s arrival was the latest sign that the NFL was putting high-stakes pressure on lawmakers to resurrect the Viking stadium legislation in the coming days.
In a slight sign of movement, Senate Majority Leader David Senjem said after Dayton’s comments Thursday that a Senate panel where the nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium plan has been stalled for weeks would now likely meet Friday to reconsider the legislation.
Senjem’s comments came after Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, the lead DFLer in the Senate, said DFLers on the 14-member panel would agree to put up the majority of the votes needed to pass the Vikings plan in the committee.
“The mere fact that they’re here, I suspect, elevates this whole issue,” Senjem said of Goodell’s visit.
“I think the Vikings are probably going to be around for another year or so,” he added however. “But I don’t think we can forget about St. Louis, Baltimore, Los Angeles [and] Oakland” where NFL teams have left. “They experienced this. It can happen. It’s real.”
Some DFLers who are opposed to the public subsidy package for the Vikings stadium looked skeptically at what was occurring.
“The NFL’s ramping up the rhetoric because they’re not getting the bill passed that they want,” said Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, who voted against the stadium plan Monday in a House committee.