Minny stadium snafu
By Bill Lankhof, QMI AGENCY
|the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Tom Dahlin/Getty Images/AFP)
Minnesota is quickly becoming the place where pro teams go to die. It lost the North Stars. It saw the Lakers go to Los Angeles. Now, it is a political snafu away from watching the Vikings do an end-around to California.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to Minnesota Friday. This is to political wrangling what the blitz is to football.
The NFL wants the Land O’ Lakes to get its act together. Quick. If not, it just might take its act and get out of town.
The Vikings’ patience in getting a deal to finance a new stadium is ended. The team has been without a lease since last year and stadium supporters have been scrambling since a House committee voted down the latest proposal Monday night — a $975- million plan to tear down and rebuild on the 30-year-old Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis.
Gov. Mark Dayton said any deal might have to wait until next year after the bill failed to get to the House. A day later, Vikings vice- president Lester Bagley said that “there is no next year” for a stadium bill.
That is being seen as a threat to move so the governor indicated Thursday that Goodell and Art Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, will come to Minnesota to meet with state lawmakers. Goodell and Rooney will want some assurance of progress.
The team is committed to playing its upcoming season in the Metrodome, but Dayton says failure to approve a stadium plan this session increases the chances of Minnesota losing the franchise.
The team and league have committed $200 million to the project but politicians have been unable to agree on public funding.
“If it isn’t passed this session, the league itself — beyond the Vikings — has serious concerns about the viability of the franchise here and the future of it here,” Dayton said after a 20-minute phone conversation with Goodell and Rooney.
Los Angeles has been mentioned as a prime relocation spot. Toronto? Not so much. Let’s be serious. This is a city that took months just to figure out where to plant a couple bus stops. If the league was looking for that kind of inertia it wouldn’t now be having to go fishing in Minny.
Eric Grubman, the league’s executive vice- president of finance and strategic transactions, called the situation “ripe for change ... I don’t know if that means a sale. I don’t know if that means a move. You have a very dejected ownership.”
WEEDING OUT TROUBLE
Ohio State offensive lineman Mike Adams tested positive for marijuana at the Scouting Combine.
A positive test for marijuana isn’t a big deal in itself. Lots of players get nailed at some point in their careers. What is a big deal is that it happened at the Combine, where players are informed beforehand that they will be tested.
It’s there in black and white. Don’t use drugs.
So Adams either didn’t learn to read all those years at Ohio State; he doesn’t care; he does care and he’s addicted; or, he walked through the same room as Canadian Olympian Ross Rebagliatti.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if it affects where he is drafted.
BACK TO SCHOOL?
Suspended New Orleans head coach Sean Payton could still end up coaching this year.
The Twitter world was rife with speculation that Payton could take an interim one-year posting at Arkansas. The Razorbacks recently fired Bobby Petrino.
Finding a replacement this late in the off-season will be difficult and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello is reported by ProFootballTalk.com as saying Payton’s suspension for his part in the Saints’ bounty scandal wouldn’t prevent him from taking the job.
Gregg Williams, suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program, already has asked the league what he has to do to be reinstated. That could include making speeches and promoting player safety and sportsmanship. In other words, he’ll have to learn how to talk out of the other side of his mouth ... Bears added Geno Hayes to their linebacking corps. Hayes, only 24, started 42 games for the Bucs the last three seasons, is projected as a backup with potential to push Nick Roach ... Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland was saying nice things about Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill “Great kid. Smart, tough, good family background.” But show me a player eligible for the draft this year and I’ll show you someone saying nice things about him. Guaranteed. And, it doesn’t mean spit ... Dontario Poe visited the Steelers. Pittsburgh believes it could have a shot at him with the No. 24 pick. They’re looking for a future replacement for nose tackle Casey Hampton ... The Browns are unanimous on the player they’ll select with the No. 4 overall pick in next week’s NFL draft, general manager Tom Heckert said. He’s equally unanimous about not telling anyone who that pick will be, although its expected Alabama running back Trent Richardson and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon are preferences...ESPN reports the Colts have informed former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck that he’ll be the first pick in the 2012 draft. In other news, there will be weather.