NFL exec: Vikes 'out of options'
Two days after a Minnesota House committee voted against the Vikings' stadium bill, the NFL responded with its own strong message to state leaders: Get it done or face the consequences.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday there will be "serious consequences" for both the league and the Vikings if the bill isn't passed, according to a Pioneer Press report.
And with the state's legislative session likely to wrap up in the next two weeks, Dayton said Tuesday that resolving the stadium issue, which has lingered for about a decade, would probably have to wait until 2013.
You have a very dejected ownership. They've run out of options. They feel like they've done everything they've been asked to do and they can't get a vote. No one will answer the question, 'What is it going to take?'” -- NFL executive VP Eric Grubman
on Vikings' stadium issues
But the Vikings, who don't have a stadium lease, said Tuesday that next year isn't an option and a league executive said Wednesday the team and its ownership are "out of options" after Monday night's vote.
"In the 20 years that I've watched teams change hands, a lot of things get talked about. But until things are really ripe, nothing happens. This is getting ripe," NFL executive vice president of business operations Eric Grubman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "You have a very dejected ownership. They've run out of options. They feel like they've done everything they've been asked to do and they can't get a vote. No one will answer the question, 'What is it going to take?' "
"The Vikings have said, 'Give us A, B and C, what would you like us to do?' They've been told A, B and C, and they've done that. And they still can't get through. So what makes anyone think it's going to be any better or different next year or the year after?"
The Vikings have no option but to play in the Metrodome in the 2012 season, but the team's lease in the 30-year-old facility is expired and officials have said they don't plan to renew it.
Grubman said Wednesday there's a lot of concern in the league office after the committee voted 9-6 to reject the $975 million plan to build a replacement for the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.
"The ownership and league staff have been working with the Vikings and from the league's standpoint, the Vikings have been patient, they've negotiated in good faith, they've been responsive to doing all they can do to get this resolved. It's reached a point where there may be a stalemate," Grubman told the Star Tribune. "So I would say it's very serious at this point. You have to remember this was portrayed as having support and likely to pass as recently as a couple of weeks ago when we were at the league meetings. So this will come as quite a blow. This is quite a blow."
The proposal that fell in the House committee on Monday would have split the tab three ways for a stadium proposed to be built at the current Metrodome site: $398 million from the state from taxes on expanded gambling, $150 million from the city of Minneapolis from existing sales taxes and $427 million from the Vikings with assistance likely from the NFL.
Seifert: Rhetoric or Realistic?
Someone was bound to say the Vikings faced an uncertain future after lawmakers rejected their stadium plan. But NFL executive Eric Grubman wasn't exaggerating when he said the team is out of options, writes ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert. Blog
According to multiple outlets, Goodell and Dayton will speak again Thursday with Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chair of the league's stadium committee Art Rooney II.
Grubman said he did not think Vikings owner Zygi Wilf would be on the call, insisting the latest stadium failure has forced the league to assess the team's options.
From our perspective, the Wilfs have done everything they can," Grubman told the paper. " ... Now it's sort of time for the league to assess. I just think it's a case of the commissioner, the governor and the head of the committee needing to put their heads together and say, 'OK, this is where it could go.' "
Dayton has made it clear he believes the Vikings will leave Minnesota if they do not have a plan for a new stadium in place by next year. Los Angeles, which does not have an NFL team but is progressing in its plan to build $1.4 billion downtown stadium, remains a threat if the Wilfs become frustrated and decide to move or sell the club.
"I think the Wilfs do not want to sell the franchise, but I think there is a point where they probably would be open-minded to listening to alternatives. To my knowledge, they have not been willing to do that at this point," Grubman told the Star Tribune.
But he continued, "I think they're running out of options and running out of patience. I doubt the commissioner would put probabilities or threaten or anything like that. But I would not be surprised if the commissioner tells the governor, if he asks, what other cities are interested in the Vikings because we are aware of that."
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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