Roger Goodell will personally lobby Minnesota lawmakers Friday
The NFL did not make any threats to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton that the Vikings would be closing shop and heading elsewhere soon.
But the league did make it very clear to lawmakers that a failure to pass legislation green-lighting construction of a new stadium could have dire consequences on the future of the club in the land of 10,000 lakes.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, commissioner Roger Goodell will arrive Friday at the state Capitol to lobby for the measure. Joining him will be Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the chair of the NFL’s stadium committee. Both men spoke with Dayton earlier today.
“They didn’t issue any threats or anything, but it was more of a warning (the Vikings could leave)” Dayton said. “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.”
While the proposed bill appeared nearly dead earlier this week, Goodell’s arrival has sparked at least tepid optimism that things could get rolling again soon with the league putting major pressure on the state.
"The NFL's ramping up the rhetoric because they're not getting the bill passed that they want," said Rep. Ryan Winkler, a Democrat from Golden Valley said, per the report. He voted against the stadium plan Monday in a House committee.
"It's like any other negotiation,” Winkler said. “You have to assess when somebody's bluffing, and when they're telling the truth. We've got to balance the threats they make, with the bad deal that this stadium bill is."
Some wonder if this is still a lot of hot air and rhetoric. Perhaps. But do Minnesotans want to play that game of chicken? That’s the question that they need to answer for themselves.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune