ST. PAUL, Minn. It has taken the Minnesota Vikings nearly a decade to get this far in their quest for a new stadium.
There is a lot more work to be done.
Gov. Mark Dayton and Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf unveiled plans Thursday for a new, $975 million stadium that would be built nearly on top of the Metrodome site in downtown Minneapolis. The deal, assembled behind closed doors in recent weeks, was a key step toward getting a plan in front of state lawmakers and other civic leaders for approval.
Still, the plan is a far cry from becoming reality.
Also standing between the Vikings and a new stadium are 201 state lawmakers, all of them up for reelection later this year and many of them unconvinced that $737 million in public money should be contributed to the plan.
Backers of the proposal said it would benefit not just the Vikings but the state of Minnesota. Under their deal, the team would collect all stadium revenue raised as a result of football games there. But the stadium would be owned by a new public entity that would keep all other profits, from other sporting events to rock concerts and the like.
The deal calls for covering the $975 million construction tab with $398 million from the state, $150 million from the city of Minneapolis, and $427 million from the Vikings.
The NFL would have to approve any stadium deal, since part of the Vikings share would likely come from a league funding program.
Around the League
Chicago: The Bears have released veteran defensive tackle Anthony Adams and offensive lineman Frank Omiyale.
Cincinnati: Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson could receive a 60-day jail sentence after pleading guilty Thursday to a drug-related felony charge as part of an agreement with prosecutors, further clouding his future in the NFL.
A judge will decide his sentence next month.
Green Bay: The Packers sold more than 268,000 shares in their most recent stock offering, raising $67 million dollars to help fund stadium improvements, the team said Thursday.
The NFL's only publicly owned team added more than 250,000 new shareholders during the six-week offering, raising its total to more than 360,000 part-owners of the team.
N.Y. Giants: The New York Giants named Sean Ryan quarterbacks coach and promoted Kevin M. Gilbride, the son of their offensive coordinator, to receivers coach, coach Tom Coughlin announced Thursday.
Oakland: The Raiders have placed the franchise tag on safety Tyvon Branch.
General manager Reggie McKenzie announced the decision on Thursday, saying he hoped the team could work out a long-term deal with Branch before next season.
Philadelphia: The Eagles placed the franchise tag on wide receiver DeSean Jackson Thursday.
Jackson who led Philadelphia with 961 yards receiving last season, was scheduled to become a free agent on March 13.
Jackson made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010, posting totals of 229 catches, 4,085 yards and 21 touchdowns along the way. Last year he caught just four touchdowns as Philadelphia finished 8-8 and out of the NFC playoffs.
San Diego: Four-time Pro Bowl guard Kris Dielman has retired, saying it's the right thing to do after he sustained a concussion last season that led the NFL to tell game officials to watch closely for symptoms during games.
With his wife and two young sons sitting off to the side, the salty, blue-collar Dielman got emotional at a news conference as he recalled lasting nine years in the NFL when nobody thought he'd make it through his first training camp. Quarterback Philip Rivers also choked up as he talked about Dielman.
St. Louis: The Rams have rejected the initial proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome and will submit their own improvement plan, the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) said Thursday.
The team can break its lease after the 2014 season and potentially move to another city if the dome is not deemed to be among the top tier of NFL stadiums.