Black and Blue all over: No stadium momentum
The government entity that owns the Metrodome testified Monday at the Minnesota state legislature on behalf of constructing a new Vikings stadium. But state leaders displayed with little support, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Star Tribune.
Nothing that happened Monday suggested the Vikings could get approval for public funding during the 2009 session, a result that would put further pressure on the looming 2011 expiration of their current lease.
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission suggested that the project could generate $734 million in construction spending and create 13,400 jobs, acting as its own stimulus to the local economy. The Vikings' plan calls for them to contribute about $250 million and get about $700 million in public funding for the project.
Rep. Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis, whose colleagues are dealing with a $4.8 billion state budget shortfall, reacted this way:
"To come in with a two-thirds publicly funded proposal for a brand new stadium here this session would appear to be a nonstarter."
This might be the one and only time state legislators hear testimony on this issue during the 2009 session. Assuming the Vikings don't get approval, they'll have 30 games -- including preseason -- left on their lease.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck thinks Sage Rosenfels would beat out Tarvaris Jackson in an open competition for the Vikings' starting job. Hasselbeck told Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune that he doesn't think Jackson "is a top-32 quarterback in the NFL" and added: "I'm not so sure he's a top-42 quarterback in the NFL."
- The Vikings are continuing to negotiate with center Matt Birk, who is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the week, according to Zulgad and Chip Scoggins.
- Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy believes the switch to a 3-4 will help his special teams as well, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune believes Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has turned up the heat on coach Lovie Smith by suggesting that the key to more success in 2009 is an improved coaching staff -- and not the prospects of a roster overhaul.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests New England safety Eugene Wilson as a possible replacement for departing starter Mike Brown.
- Detroit quarterback Dan Orlovsky says he will test free agency rather than immediately accept an offer from the Lions, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News.