NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday morning to discuss the Vikings stadium situation.
The Vikings are trying to close on a stadium deal with Ramsey County where the team would contribute $407 million and the county $350 million, but the deal is contingent on the state contributing $300 million to the project and solving the infrastructure issues surrounding the stadium site in Arden Hills that could cost up to another $175 million.
Dayton indicated the state's contribution would be capped at $300 million and any additional dollars would have to be generated in user fees.
Goodell said the NFL will contribute to the stadium project financially, but details on how that contribution would be made and how much it would entail are still being developed. Those details, Goodell says, will be revealed in coming days.
"That's one of the things the NFL is unique in doing, getting involved in the financing of stadiums. I think that's one of the things we'll be working over the next several days," Goodell said.
The NFL used to have a G3 financing plan for stadium development when the Vikings first started pursuing a new stadium, but those funds have since been used up by other NFL stadium projects. Now, Goodell said, the NFL's contribution would come primarily through a "club-seat waiver program."
Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf weren't in town for the meeting Tuesday, but Dayton cautioned to not read anything into their absences.
With Minnesota's legislative session ending Monday, May 23, time is short to get a deal passed, but Dayton said he thinks it is still possible.
"Where there's a will, there's a way. Yes, anything is possible," Dayton said. "But the leaders have made it clear, the legislative leaders, that the priority is the budget deal that has to come first."
The state is facing a $5 billion budget deficit and Dayton introduced a budget plan that calls for $1.8 billion reduction in spending and a $1.8 billion increase in taxes, among other things.
Goodell said the league is focused on finding a solution for the Vikings in Minnesota and said "significant progress" has been made. But progress has also been made in the last year for a new NFL stadium in the Los Angeles area, which would be dependent on L.A. finding a team willing and able to move to California. Goodell was asked if he could see the Vikings leaving Minnesota if a stadium bill isn't passed this year.
"I don't. I think the commitment here is to get something done to ensure the success of the Vikings moving forward," he said.
Asked if the NFL has a preference for where a new Vikings stadium should be built – Minneapolis has been vying for those rights recently – he referenced the Wilfs' preference for the Ramsey County deal, which provides more revenue opportunities for the team via parking and other development opportunities.
"I think the Vikings feel very strongly about Ramsey County. I had a chance to go up and visit the site yesterday. It's an extraordinary site and I think it's very exciting, so we're going to work with the Vikings to hopefully make that come true, along with the leadership," Goodell said.
"We're focused on finding solutions here in Minnesota. We want the Vikings to be here."
Goodell said the amount of the NFL's contribution would be dependent on revenues that can be created.
"Commissioner Goodell, I want to thank him for coming to Minnesota," Dayton said. "This is tremendously helpful and it's a tremendous show of support by the NFL to Minnesota and to the Vikings being the Minnesota Vikings for many, many years, which is our shared objective."
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Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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