NFL: Other cities are interested in Vikings
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to speak with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton this morning about the crumbling plan to build a new stadium for the Vikings.
Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the chair of the NFL’s stadium committee, will also speak with Dayton. And you should know the NFL is already talking about the possibility of relocation when it comes to the Vikings, who have committed to play this coming season in the Metrodome. Beyond that, all bets are off.
"There's a lot of concern from the league,” NFL vice president of business operations Eric Grubman told Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “The ownership and league staff have been working with the Vikings and from the league's standpoint, the Vikings have been patient, they've negotiated in good faith, they've been responsive to doing all they can do to get this resolved. It's reached a point where there may be a stalemate. So I would say it's very serious at this point. You have to remember this was portrayed as having support and likely to pass as recently as a couple of weeks ago when we were at the league meetings. So this will come as quite a blow. This is quite a blow.”
The NFL is motivated to keep a team in Minneapolis. The league is no doubt chipping into the $429 million the Vikings committed to the nearly $1 billion project. It is the 13th largest television market in the nation and, of course, the NFL wants a team there. Dayton has speculated if the Vikings don’t have a stadium deal done by 2013 they will move.
“I don't like to speculate as to what they will do and what they won't do,” Grubman said. “I've watched franchises trade hands for 20 years. The fact is you have to have a willing seller. There are plenty of willing buyers. I think the Wilfs do not want to sell the franchise, but I think there is a point where they probably would be open-minded to listening to alternatives. To my knowledge, they have not been willing to do that at this point.
“I think they're running out of options and running out of patience. I doubt the commissioner would put probablilities or threaten or anything like that. But I would not be surprised if the commissioner tells the governor, if he asks, what other cities are interested in the Vikings because we are aware of that.”
This is the next and likely final step in the negotiation process. The Vikings and NFL are finally talking loud and clear about moving. And the NFL is ready to disclose what cities would like the Vikings if the Twin Cities doesn’t.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune