Goodell to meet with governor-elect of Minnesota
Roger Goodell has been scheduled to attend Monday night’s game between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings all along.
Even before the Metrodome roof collapsed, Goodell was going to be in attendance as the Vikings cap the celebration of their 50th anniversary this weekend. Now, it just happens to be an opportune time for the franchise and the league to discreetly and carefully work toward getting a new stadium in the Twin Cities.
And guess what? Goodell has a private meeting scheduled with Mark Dayton, the governor-elect in Minnesota, and legislative members on Monday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome runs through 2011 and the franchise has been unwavering on the future: no new lease will be signed until a finalized plan to construct a new stadium is in place.
Per the report, Dayton said he will support a new stadium initiative. Under one condition.
“As I said throughout my campaign, any new stadium must first benefit the people of Minnesota," Dayton said in a statement.
"If it's 8,000 construction jobs over the next three years," Dayton said, and the tax revenues, Minnesota business contracts and other economic benefits exceed any public costs, "then it is a good deal for the people of Minnesota and I will support it."
A stadium measure was quickly scuttled in the state government last spring. The state faces a $6.2 billion deficit and there is little interest in giving the Vikings a wonderful new home while taking the focus off more pressing issues. The public also has been slow to support a stadium drive even though the Minnesota Twins just opened a new ballpark.
"A lot of people want things," Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, an incoming assistant Senate majority leader, told the Star Tribune. He said the Metrodome's roof collapse "doesn't elevate this to a crisis."
The timing would seem to be right for the Vikings, though. They’re coming out of lease and owner Zygi Wilf should have some leverage. The key will be handling the situation carefully. The public, right now, is more furious with a disaster of a 5-8 season than the roofless Metrodome. Meanwhile, stadium talk continues in Los Angeles. Stay tuned.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune