Gov. Mark Dayton said today that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is coming to St. Paul Friday to talk with him and lawmakers about providing public financing so the Vikings can build a new stadium.
It’s the league’s biggest push yet to get Minnesota legislators to subsidize a nearly $1 billion stadium. The NFL says the team might move without a new stadium, the governor said, but he insists that doesn’t constitute a threat.
Lawmakers have balked at the public-subsidy idea so far, but Dayton is pushing hard to get the deal done before the session ends in the next few weeks.
Dayton said he talked to Goodell this morning, who said he and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II will come to town for the meetings.
Dayton claimed that NFL leaders aren’t threatening to move the team to L.A. or elsewhere, even though they said they might move:
“They didn’t issue any threats or anything, but it was more of a warning,” Dayton told reporters. “It was very clear that they see that the Vikings will be in play [to move] if this is not resolved or unfavorably resolved in this session.”
He made no mention of Goodell’s comments in February at the Super Bowl, when the commissioner implied that he expects expansion teams to go to Los Angeles, if a stadium is built there. They’re struggling with stadium location and financing problems there, too, according to reports from L.A.
Dayton characterized Goodell’s position as matter-of-factly pointing out that the team might move. “[But] it’s not like, ‘Well, if you don’t do this, we’ll do that.’ It was ‘This is the way our league operates,’ ” the governor said.