Owners Vote On OT, Playoffs, Etc.

The NFL owners weren't just playing golf in Phoenix this week, voting on several rules changes -- including one that could have a big impact on the Vikings stadium push.

The NFL owners were hitting several issues Wednesday as their first owners meeting of the new season wound down in Phoenix. Several decisions were made, including one modification that could have a big impact on the Vikings' attempt to secure a new stadium.

Yesterday, VU reported that the league had opted to continue its G-3 funding program for another year. Instead, by Wednesday's final draft and vote, the proposal had been changed. In the final version, the league didn't put a time constraint on G-3, but instead a money cap. The final number is $800 million. Of that, $650 million has already been expended.

That means whomever gets a stadium deal off the ground first can access the money and, if it is a large market like the Giants/Jets facility at the Meadowlands, one team could eat up all the remaining funding. The Vikings could be eligible for up to $100 million, but, in their most recent proposal, account for half of their limit -- $51.5 million -- because of the private/public contributions in that proposal. While the team admits that getting a stadium deal through this year's Legislature is highly unlikely, the feeling is that they will be on the clock next year or a stadium deal with help from G-3 money won't get done.

In other owners meeting news, the owners:
* Voted to keep overtime as it is, despite more owners voting to change it to allow both teams at least one possession. The vote was 17-14-1 to change the rule (Oakland abstained), but such matters require a three-fourths majority (24 votes), which didn't happen.
* A proposal to allow coaches to keep challenges if they are found to be correct was also voted down.
* A proposal to increase the number of players active on gameday was voted down. Currently there are six inactive players on game days, including a No. 3 emergency QB in uniform.
* No extra playoff teams will be instituted this year, as the league opted to study the matter further before expanding the playoffs by two teams. Ironically, Red McCombs wanted to expand the playoff pool by four teams.
* The only on-field change enacted came in the area of on-side kicks. In the final five minutes, if a kick doesn't go 10 yards or goes out of bounds, the kicking team will lose the ball. Under previous rules, if that happened a 10-yard penalty was thrown and the kicking team got a second chance.

* Talk continues to swirl at Winter Park that, if Ken Irvin plays as well as anticipated, Brian Williams will be shifted to starting strong safety.
* A VU source with the Bucs says the team is likely going to sign former Viking Dwayne Rudd by tomorrow.
* A Packers source of VU's said that, while the team will likely wait until Sunday, all indications are that the Pack will meet the Lions' $11 million offer sheet to LB Na'il Diggs. That will essentially wipe out what money the Packers have left under the salary cap and make it difficult to match any offer should one come forward for restricted free agent Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.
* At this point, Vikings officials point to Kentucky's Dwayne Robertson as the best fit for their team, but if Jimmy Kennedy of Penn State is still on the board, don't be shocked to see the Vikings snap him up.
* We're officially less than one month away from the draft, which starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 26.

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