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Goodell: Minn. faces 'serious consequences' over stadium bill

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday that there would be "serious consequences" for the Vikings if a stadium bill is not completed.

A Minnesota House committee voted down a bill on Monday that would have provided for a new stadium at the site of the Metrodome, leaving the Vikings' long-term fate up in the air. The team is committed to playing in the Metrodome for the 2012 season, even though its lease expired last year.

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According to the St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Eric Grubman, the NFL's executive vice president of ventures and business operations, said the situation was "ripe for change."

"I don't know if that means a sale. I don't know if that means a move. You have a very dejected ownership," Grubman said.

In an interview with The Star Tribune, Grubman said "there are plenty of willing buyers."

"I think the Wilfs do not want to sell the franchise, but I think there is a point where they probably would be open-minded to listening to alternatives," he said. "To my knowledge, they have not been willing to do that at this point ... I doubt the commissioner would put probabilities or threaten or anything like that. But I would not be surprised if the commissioner tells the governor, if he asks, what other cities are interested in the Vikings because we are aware of that."

If a deal isn't reached this year for a new stadium in Minnesota, Grubman said he believes the league's criteria for approving relocation of the franchise would be met.

"Who's holding this up?" Grubman asked. "Who doesn't want this to be voted on? Stand up and be counted."

Roger Chamberlain, a state senator who introduced a competing bill to shift much of the stadium cost from the taxpayers to the Vikings, answered the league's concern.

"It's disappointing to think the NFL or the Vikings are driving policy for Minnesota government," Chamberlain wrote in an email. "They need to be willing to come back to the table and negotiate. The Vikings and NFL are in a much better financial position than our state."

Dayton holds out hope a bill can be reached this year, if not before the end of the session, then perhaps in a special session after the November elections.

Goodell has another phone call scheduled for Thursday with Dayton and Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, who chairs the league's stadium committee.

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