Obstacles to a new Minnesota stadium emerged within hours of Monday's official legislative announcement. None was bigger than that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whose signature would be required for any bill to be enacted.
Pawlenty, and later his chief spokesman, made clear he won't approve any new state taxes as part of the bill. That would seem to put into jeopardy one of the bill's main financing tools: "User fees" on jerseys, hotel rooms, rental cars and the like. Pawlenty said: "We're not going to be raising or dealing with state taxes to subsidize that."
According to the Star Tribune, spokesman Brian McClung added: "We remain opposed to any stadium plan that includes tax increases, including the hotel tax, jersey tax, and rental car tax in one of the plans unveiled today. The governor continues to believe the team needs a local partner to be successful in their effort."
And House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher also expressed significant reservations: "I don't think that I'm going to do anything extraordinary here for this bill," she said. "I'm not sure that this bill is ready for prime time."
Some of this is no doubt political posturing. But there isn't much time; the state legislature adjourns May 17.
Continuing around the NFC North:
Jason Hoppin of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The Minnesota Vikings' 2010 pursuit of a new stadium arrived in the form of a bill that is both an option play and a Hail Mary pass."
Vikings place-kicker Ryan Longwell has designs on playing in golf's U.S. Open, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on rookie Green Bay linebacker John Russell: "The Packers view Russell, who they signed as an undrafted free agent, as a potential pass-rushing linebacker. He doesn't have blinding speed, but his quickness and knowledge of the game sparked their interest. He said that when he was around 260 pounds he ran in the mid-to-low 4.7-second range in the 40-yard dash."
Scott Venci of the Green Bay Press-Gazette takes a look at rookie offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse.
Detroit rookie defensive end Chima Ihekwoaba is attempting to make the rare step to the NFL after playing college football in Canada, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh doesn't plan on having a long learning curve, writes Terry Foster of the Detroit News.
First-year player Trevor Canfield will get a chance to compete for a Lions guard position, writes Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press.
Michael Wright of ESPNChicago.com ranks the top 65 players on the Bears' roster.