NFL Nation: Dave Birkett
Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf is ramping up efforts to sell his stadium plan as a way to spur job growth and stimulate the local economy, according to reports in the Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Wilf hosted a meeting of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council on Tuesday, hoping to gain its leaders' support in spreading the message. Dick Anfang, the council's president, estimates the project could net $500 million for local contractors and at various times provide jobs to as many as 5,500 people during the four-year construction period.
There are many questions left to be answered about those figures, including whether any of the jobs would be permanent and if the stimulus would compensate for the taxpayer contribution -- expected to be $700 million or more -- the project would require.
Every indication from Minnesota state leaders has suggested the Vikings won't get serious consideration during this year's session of the state legislature. But it's clear Wilf will not go quietly. His stadium point man is already elevating the rhetoric, noting the Vikings have 30 games left on their Metrodome lease (which expires after the 2011 season).
Continuing around the NFC North:
- There were reports last month that Detroit would hire Bob Slowik as its defensive backs coach. But a report from FOX-13 in Memphis says the Lions have hired University of Memphis defensive coordinator Tim Walton for the job. The Lions have yet to confirm any member of their coaching staff other than coordinators Gunther Cunningham (defense) and Scott Linehan (offense).
- Via Dave Birkett of the Oakland Press, Rivals.com reports that former University of Washington assistant Tim Lappano will join the Lions as tight ends coach.
- Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com confirms earlier reports that former Lions offensive coordinator Jim Colletto, demoted last month to offensive line coach, won't return in any capacity. Colletto said he likely will retire. George Yarno has been reported to be the Lions' new offensive line coach.
- Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times analyzes whether one of the draft's top quarterbacks could slip to the Bears at No. 18.
- In an online chat, Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette says he thinks backup tailback Brandon Jackson will get more carries in 2009.
- Mike Vandermause of the Press-Gazette suggests the Packers freeze ticket prices for 2009. A decision is expected next month.