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BBAO: NFL notes Vikings' 'alternative plan'

10/19/2011

We're Black and Blue All Over:

We had quite the busy Tuesday, from a quarterback transition in Minnesota to a trade in Detroit to our SportsNation chat to some early work in the NFC North laundromat. It all overshadowed a blunt message delivered by NFL officials following a stadium meeting with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.

Here's what NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman told reporters about the current political climate: "We're worried about a stalemate. A stalemate means there's no lease or the lease is about to expire. There's no plan for a stadium, and there's an alternative plan in another city. That's a stalemate. And the alternative wouldn't include Minnesota. That is, in the way we look at it, a crisis."

(Coverage from the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press.)

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has never threatened to move the team if a stadium isn't approved, and the current thinking is that he would sell the team before it came to that. But Grubman's message should not be viewed as a mere threat. It stands to reason that eventually, and regardless of who owns the team, the NFL will move the franchise if a stadium isn't built.

There is much work to be done in Los Angeles before a team could move there, but the situation in Minnesota has obviously drawn the NFL's concern. The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome expires on Feb. 1, 2012. Dayton is hoping to call a special session of the state legislature to approve a plan for a new stadium, but to this point state legislators have yet to agree to the Vikings' proposal. Stay tuned.

Continued around the NFC North:

  • Acquiring quarterback Donovan McNabb "made no sense" for the Vikings, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.

  • Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The switch from Donovan McNabb will at least temporarily placate a fan base that clearly is aghast at what has unfolded in 2011. The organization appears to be withering on the vine, from top to bottom. I'd still be hard-pressed to tell you just who is in charge of the operation. Little slices of power have been distributed far and wide. The lack of organizational leadership is astounding."

  • Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "If the vote were today, Aaron Rodgers almost surely would be the NFL’s most valuable player for 2011."

  • Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop.

  • Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com goes behind the scenes with Packers rookie Randall Cobb.

  • The Detroit Lions had some red zone issues on offense Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.

  • Justin Rogers of Mlive.com looks at the Lions' acquisition of running back Ronnie Brown.

  • Brown to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "From a football standpoint I feel like I have a lot left. I haven't had a lot of carries, so there's not a lot of wear and tear. And I think with the injury thing ... all those things are non-factors now."

  • Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo spoke with safety Chris Harris, who had requested a trade. Angelo, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "We're all on the same page now."

  • Bears safety Brandon Meriweather, who like Harris has been benched, is staying positive. Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times has more.

  • Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune: "You couldn't help but laugh Sunday at the contrast of coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz combusting in Detroit while Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier stared across the sidelines from each other here in Chicago. The Jims almost came to blows while Lovie and Leslie seemed engaged in a lowest-pulse-rate contest."