The Minnesota State House will vote on a bill to fund a new stadium project for the Minnesota Vikings on Monday, according to reports out of the capitol on Thursday. The outcome of that vote, along with a vote in the Senate, will go a long way toward determining the fate of the Vikings and where they will play football beyond 2012.
Representative will be voting on the original stadium bill negotiated by Gov. Mark Dayton. That bill calls for state contributions of approximately $400 million from the introduction of new gaming revenue sources. Another $150 million will come from Minneapolis sales tax revenue.
Earlier in the week, Republican legislators floated a lower-cost plan for the stadium that left off the roof and used state bonds to pay for the state's share of the cost. Controversy ensued, mostly along party lines. The Vikings and the Governor refused to consider a plan without a roof, since that would limit the facility's usage. Republicans continued to press for a plan to borrow money via bonds, with a roof added back in, as late as Wednesday afternoon.
House Speaker Kurt Zellars warned that the stadium plan does not have the votes to pass the House, according to Jeff Goldberg of Fox 9 news. Senate Majority Leader David Senjem also wondered whether or not the plan had enough support to pass his chamber.
In the House, members of the state's Democratic Farm Labor party said that they would provide half the votes needed to pass the bill. The project has the support of Minnesota's labor unions. Whether or not the plan can pass, will depend on Republican votes in both chambers. Zellars left open the possibility of further negotiations with the Governor and the DFL party. A tax bill and a state bonding bill are also on the table for a vote as the legislature looks to wind down its 2012 session, allowing members to switch into campaign mode.
The NFL has been heavily involved in the process. Commissioner Roger Goodell and stadium committee chairman Art Rooney flew to Minnesota on April 19 after a House committee rejected the plan. Last Thursday, in the hours leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft, Goodell expressed optimism over the stadium's prospects. He also acknowledged that the league did not, at the time, have a plan should the stadium vote fail.