NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's personal visit to the Minnesota Capitol was a "reality check." Goodell emerged from a consensus "productive" meeting Friday morning to say the time is now" for a Vikings stadium bill to get done.
"What we talked about what the importance of creating a solution here," Goodell said, "And I think what Gov. Dayton and the legislative leaders understand is the time is now."
"We agreed we would work together to get the stadium enacted this session." Gov. Mark Dayton said. "They (the NFL) were here to say, 'this is it folks.' If we're truly committed to passing this bill, it will pass."
Friday's meeting, which also included Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney, followed at least two conversations between the governor and commissioner on the urgency of a Vikings stadium deal.
"Action needs to be taken now," Rooney said, frankly.
Dayton described those talks as "sobering" and Goodell warned that inaction on the stadium front brings "serious consequences" for both the Vikings and the NFL. Though Vikings owner Zygi Wilf hasn't said so publicly, Dayton validated rumors that the stadium issue is a dealbreaker for the franchiser.
"If we don't build a new stadium, the Vikings are going to leave," he said.
Of course, the authors of the stadium bill have felt that urgency all along.
"The reality check is this is the year to do it," Sen. Julie Rosen said. "We cannot wait until next year."
The pep talk from Goodell appears to have rekindled the Minneapolis stadium plan, which passed a Senate committee on an 8-6 vote a few hours after Goodell's visit. The bill will face another committee vote on Monday, and supporters say they can get it through the Legislature.
"We cannot have this decision delayed another year," said Rep. Morrie Lanning. "It's time for Minnesota to make a decision."
AS FOR ANY L.A. THREAT...
Dayton said the NFL is clear they want a team in Los Angeles, but they don't want that team to be the Vikings. Still, Dayton emphasized that the NFL made it clear that no decision this session is a decision that "creates a lot of uncertainty."
"There's no ultimatum, but we did talk about L.A. and that it clearly is an open market," Dayton said.
Furthermore, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Wilf's private plan was spotted at a southern California airport on Thursday -- and he was noticeably absent from the Capitol when Goodell -- who also recently met with the mayor of Los Angeles -- was there.
The Vikings are not commenting on thos reports, but Wilf has significant business interests in that region as a real estate developer.
Dayton and the Vikings are urging people to contact their legislators to urge them to act on a stadium. House Speaker Kurt Zellers said the timetable on a vote in the House should come in the next few days.
"We have a good bill," Rep. Lanning said. "There very well may be some changes as it goes through the process, but it's premature to speculate what those may be."