We told you a couple days ago that the tenor of the Vikings stadium quagmire would get ugly. The situation has indeed reached crisis mode, and it's time for the Minnesota government to call in the big dogs.
Gov. Mark Dayton announced at a news conference Thursday that he will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Steelers president Art Rooney on Friday, along with legislative leaders in Minnesota.
The team's hope for a new stadium was dealt a crippling blow earlier this week, which had Dayton looking to next year for a solution. The Vikings responded by saying "there is no next year." Gulp.
The Vikings have declined to make lead owner Zygi Wilf or team president Mark Wilf available for comment this week. Dayton spoke by phone with the Wilfs on Thursday, a spokesman for the governor said. They had no plans to attend Friday's meeting.
Meanwhile, Goodell said "serious consequences" could happen if the Vikings can't get anything done. Eric Grubman, the NFL's executive vice president of ventures and business operations, mentioned there would be plenty of "willing buyers" if Vikings owner Zygi Wilf wanted to sell the team. Grub said the situation was "ripe for change." This is a full-fledged media assault from the league and the Vikings.
A potential move to Los Angeles or another city is hanging over this franchise until a potential new stadium situation can be worked out. Local government is unwilling to pick up the tab at this stage. Local media is picking up the slack in pressuring local officials. We are starting to see "sky is falling" articles about the dangers of L.A. and how much an NFL franchise would cost to get back.
Yes, we've reached this stage of the story. It's not going to be a fun year for Vikings fans if this isn't turned around sooner than later.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.