2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Next hurdle arrives for Minn. Vikings stadium plan

By BRIAN BAKST - Associated Press
    2012-05-08 06:39

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - After years of setbacks, the Minnesota Vikings can finally point to a major victory in the franchise quest for a new stadium. Tuesday could make it two in a row.

The Minnesota House voted 73-58 on Monday for a stadium financing proposal. In the process, lawmakers substantially raised the required private contribution toward the $975 million facility, a change Vikings' owners find troubling.

The state Senate planned to act on a competing version Tuesday. Passage there would send the bill into final negotiations and put the team closer than ever to a replacement for the aging Metrodome. The Vikings have been after a new stadium since the mid-1990s.

``It was the first hurdle, a couple more to go,'' Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said after Monday night's vote, which would be the first of four needed before a plan can reach a supportive Gov. Mark Dayton.

Bagley said the team's owners aren't prepared to shell out $105 million more - beyond a prior $427 million private commitment - toward construction of the stadium in downtown Minneapolis. But lawmakers will have the final say on how big a taxpayer subsidy is provided.

The bill passed with support of more Democrats than Republicans despite the GOP controlling that chamber. It reflects a hard push by organized labor, which promoted the Vikings stadium as a much-needed boost for the construction sector.

Dayton hailed the vote by thanking fans who have flooded lawmakers' phone lines, email inboxes and the Capitol itself to push for passage. Several stood outside the House chamber singing the team fight song after the vote.

``The voices of the people of Minnesota were heard tonight,'' Dayton said. He urged fans to keep up the pressure in the days ahead.

Toward the end of a nearly nine hour House debate, members rose one after another to defend their intention to back or oppose the bill.

Rep. Larry Hosch, DFL-St. Joseph, made it personal. He told of being born on a Vikings Sunday, with his dad having to break away from an overtime game to ferry his mom to the hospital. Hosch said he can't fathom not having Sunday games to share with his own kids.

``It might not make sense in dollars and cents,'' Hosch said, adding, ``I can't imagine a state without the Vikings.''

Others urged their colleagues not to let nostalgia cloud their decisions on a massive public subsidy.

``Let's not build a monument to misplaced priorities,'' said Rep. Doug Wardlow, a freshman Republican.

Many who were against it raised concerns that the gambling money needed to repay bonds wouldn't materialize, putting the stadium debt in direct competition with schools, nursing homes and other valued programs.

The plan negotiated last winter by the governor, key lawmakers, the Minneapolis mayor and the team would have the Vikings cover about $427 million of the construction costs. The state would pay $398 million, with the money coming from an expansion of gambling. The city of Minneapolis would kick in $150 million by redirecting an existing hospitality tax.

The amendment raising the team's share won strong bipartisan approval, but even some supporters acknowledged that it could be softened later on. Another added amendment would give the state a bigger portion of any proceeds from a team sale once the stadium is built, a guard against an owner who could cash in on an asset expected to increase the franchise value.

A plan to pay the state's share through a gambling expansion survived an attempt to remove it when House members turned back a push to replace that money with fees on tickets, concessions and other fan purchases.

The Vikings are no longer under a Metrodome lease, leaving some to worry they would bolt without a new stadium after next season.

``This is your chance to prove you don't want the Vikings to leave,'' Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said just before the vote.

The House vote was the first test for a proposal that must also clear the Senate and likely would face House-Senate negotiations before another round of votes.

If the Twins ballpark votes are any guide, the ground beneath stadium bills can be squishy. In 2006, the ultimately successful Twins bill lost votes in between the first time the House took it up and the last; it passed the Senate by the barest majority on both votes. Several lawmakers in both chambers switched their votes - some in favor, some against - after final negotiations produced a different product, a cautionary note that Vikings supporters must consider when they merge competing plans later on.

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The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Andrew Norwell, RB DeAngelo Williams, OT Garry Williams, DL Greg Hardy, LB Jason Williams, QB Joe Webb, SS Tre Boston inactive for Week 3.

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 21 07:42p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) is inactive for the Week 3 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

B.W. WebbSep 21 07:42p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared CB B.W. Webb, DT Daniel McCullers, RB Dri Archer, QB Landry Jones, WR Martavis Bryant, OG Ramon Foster, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 3.

Marcus EasleySep 21 03:32p

Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee) and SS Da'Norris Searcy (ankle) suffered injuries during the team's Week 3 game and are considered questionable to return.

Greg ScruggsSep 21 03:22p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared OT Garry Gilliam, LB Bruce Irvin, OT Andrew McDonald, RB Christine Michael, WR Kevin Norwood, DE Greg Scruggs, CB Tharold Simon inactive for Week 3.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 03:12p

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Carson PalmerSep 21 03:12p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 3 game.

Tony CarterSep 21 03:12p

The Denver Broncos have declared CB Tony Carter, OG Ben Garland, WR Cody Latimer, LB Lerentee McCray, OT Michael Schofield, LB Danny Trevathan, DT Mitch Unrein inactive for Week 3.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 03:11p

Charles is out for the Week 3 game.

Mike PounceySep 21 03:02p

The Miami Dolphins have declared DE Terrence Fede, LB Koa Misi, RB Knowshon Moreno, C Mike Pouncey, OG Shelley Smith, LB Jordan Tripp and OT Billy Turner inactive for Week 3.

Vernon DavisSep 21 02:52p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle, knee) has been declared inactive for Week 3.

Vernon DavisSep 21 02:52p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared CB Tramaine Brock, DE Cornellius Carradine, OT Anthony Davis, TE Vernon Davis, C Marcus Martin, TE Vance McDonald, WR Quinton Patton inactive for Week 3.

Chad HenneSep 21 02:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles entered the team's Week 3 game in the second half after QB Chad Henne was benched.

Dave ZastudilSep 21 02:52p

The Arizona Cardinals have declared LB Victor Butler, LB Glenn Carson, TE Rob Housler, LB Alex Okafor, QB Carson Palmer, NT Alameda Ta'amu, P Dave Zastudil inactive for Week 3.

Stephen TullochSep 21 02:42p

Detroit Lions LB Stephen Tulloch (knee) and FS Don Carey (hamstring) suffered injuries during the team's Week 3 game and are considered questionable to return.

Dennis PittaSep 21 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was carted off after suffering a right hip injury during the team's Week 3 game.

Matt CasselSep 21 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings QB Matt Cassel (toe) was carted off the field in Week 3 after suffering a toe injury. He is considered questionable to return.

Danny WoodheadSep 21 01:22p

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Adrian PetersonSep 21 12:42p

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New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) is active against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 21.

A.J. GreenSep 21 11:52a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) is active against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 21.

Anthony SpencerSep 21 11:52a

The Dallas Cowboys have declared DL Anthony Spencer, DL Davon Coleman, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, LB Justin Durant, LB Rolando McClain, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 3.

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The Buffalo Bills have declared RB Bryce Brown, TE Chris Gragg, OG Cyril Richardson, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, LB Keith Rivers, LB Randell Johnson, CB Ross Cockrell inactive for Week 3.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins is active for the Week 3 game Sunday, Sept. 21. WR Aaron Dobson is a healthy scratch for the game.

Aaron DobsonSep 21 11:52a

The New England Patriots have declared WR Aaron Dobson, CB Don Jones, RB James White, OL Josh Kline, DL Michael Buchanan, C Ryan Wendell, DE Zach Moore inactive for Week 3.

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The Washington Redskins have declared LB Akeem Jordan, TE Jordan Reed, DL Kedric Golston, OT Morgan Moses, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Santana Moss, CB Tracy Porter inactive for Week 3.

Brandon WattsSep 21 11:42a

The Minnesota Vikings have declared LB Brandon Watts, WR Charles X. Johnson, QB Christian Ponder, OG David Yankey, WR Rodney Smith, DL Scott Crichton, CB Shaun Prater inactive for Week 3.

Arthur JonesSep 21 11:42a

The Indianapolis Colts have declared DL Arthur Jones, LB Chris Carter, WR Da'Rick Rogers, LB Jerrell Freeman, OL Joe Reitz, C Khaled Holmes, OG Lance Louis inactive for Week 3.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have declared DL Brandon Thompson, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, OG Kevin Zeitler, WR Marvin Jones, RB Rex Burkhead, LB Sean Porter, LB Vontaze Burfict inactive for Week 3.

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The Cleveland Browns have declared RB Ben Tate, DL Eric Martin, TE Gerell Robinson, DL Ish Kitchen, WR LaRon Byrd, CB Pierre Desir, DB Robert Nelson inactive for Week 3.

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