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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Vikings stadium: Fits and starts

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Wednesday provided a good illustration of the highs and lows the Minnesota Vikings' stadium bill will continue to encounter on the way to a final up-or-down resolution.

The day began with a longtime stadium critic, state Sen. John Marty, saying the bill's approval is "imminent" and that stadium supporters "have the upper hand and I think they're more likely than not to get their stadium within the week."

It continued with state Rep. Paul Thissen, the House minority leader, calling for a vote as early as Thursday on the floor of the state house. (Remember, approval from both the state House, Senate and Gov. Mark Dayton are necessary before the bill can be enacted.)

At midday, three Vikings players showed up unannounced to provide support and a little levity. I'm guessing that running back Adrian Peterson, linebacker Chad Greenway and center John Sullivan were part of the early conditioning group at the Vikings' practice facility.

The Senate version of the bill hit a roadblock when the Senate Finance committee added an additional funding mechanism -- a long-debated and politically volatile issue known as a "Racino" -- to help pay for the state's portion of the stadium. The Finance committee then passed the bill along to the Senate Tax committee on Thursday. Sen. Julie Rosen, a key stadium supporter, said the Racino language would imperil the bill.

I wouldn't get too worked up about that possibility. Amendments can be added and retracted from bills at committee stops and during floor debate. It's important to take a global approach and follow the general direction of the bill, which after Wednesday's amendment, is one step closer to a vote in both legislative houses. That's still progress.

I know some of you are annoyed to see stadium posts in the midst of our otherwise sacred draft coverage. But this issue is hurtling toward a resolution, one way or the other, and it will impact the fabric of this division no matter what answer legislators provide. It's really important. Thanks for your understanding.