NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after meeting Tuesday with Gov. Mark Dayton and supporters of a Minnesota Vikings
stadium that the league will contribute financially to its construction, and that he believes efforts to get the facility built are ensuring the team's future in the state.
"I think the commitment here is to get something done and I think that will ensure the success of the Vikings," said Goodell, after he was asked if he could envision a scenario where the team would leave Minnesota.
The NFL commissioner met early in the morning at the governor's residence with Dayton, legislators sponsoring the stadium bill and state Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel to talk about the team's partnership with Ramsey County to build a $1.1 billion stadium in suburban Arden Hills. With less than a week left in the legislative session, stadium talks are hung up on the cost of fixing roads near the site and who should pay for it.
Sorel said after the meeting his agency will have a more exact figure on road costs by Wednesday. Dayton and the chief legislative sponsors, Sen. Julie Rosen of Fairmont and Rep. Morrie Lanning of Moorhead, once again firmly stated that the state's share will not exceed $300 million - and that any road-improvement costs will have to come out of that total.
"We still have work to do in terms of pinning down what are the transportation needs over and above what's already planned," Lanning said. "That is the most important issue."
Goodell would not reveal how much the league would kick in, saying he would release more details in the next few days. As part of its deal with Ramsey County, the Vikings pledged to pay $407 million, about 39 percent of the total project cost.
"Those are discussions that are going on in part based on the types of revenue that can be created," said Goodell, who turned up shortly after his meeting with Dayton at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis where the league is in mediation with the players union over the NFL lockout.
A provision in the stadium legislation at the Capitol will prevent stadium construction from getting underway until the league's labor dispute is settled.