NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is coming to Minnesota tomorrow to talk with state leaders about the impasse over the Vikings stadium.
And while Gov. Mark Dayton today cited the precedent of the stadium struggle in Cleveland almost 20 years ago, the NFL’s executive vice president says a similar relocation isn’t what Vikings fans should be worried about: It’s a change in ownership.
“If I were in Minnesota, I wouldn’t waste my time thinking about Los Angeles or Toronto or any other city,” said Eric Grubman. “I would be thinking about whether or not I have an ownership committed to keep it there. And that’s the beauty of the Wilf family. They have been committed to keeping it there. They are tired. They are dejected, they have lost their optimism. They haven’t lost their will to fight for it. But they are running out of gas. And if I were there, and running through the dynamics, the last thing I would want is an ownership that has given up. Because then, you have no idea what would happen.”
In short, stadium building is a long and arduous process, but a sale of the Vikings to someone willing to wait — perhaps for a new home somewhere else — could happen with a few pen strokes.
Is that what the commissioner is coming to tell Minnesota?
“The first thing they’re going to do is listen,” Grubman says. “They’ll get together with the govenor and legislative leaders, and look them in the eye, and ask them, well, where are you? And why is this stalled in committee? And what are the prospects for getting it out?”
We may find out soon enough. Senate Majority leader Dave Senjem said he hopes to capitalize on Minority Leader Tom Bakk’s offer of five DFL committee votes and get the stadium out of the local government committee tomorrow.