Time Running Out On NFL Stadium Help?

The clock is ticking on Red McCombs and the Vikings to get league funding for a new stadium.<br>

While the Vikings have been frustrated at the state level to the reaction to building a new stadium, there is a sense of urgency emerging from the league owners meetings in Orlando.

The Vikings have just one more year to potentially get funding of more than $50 million through the league to build a new stadium -- a pool of money that could dry up after 2003.

In reaction to the NFL losing teams like the Rams, Cardinals and Browns from their previous home cities over stadium squabbles, the NFL decided to create a "G-3" fund, which would contribute NFL dollars into the new stadium plans and, seeing that two-thirds of the stadiums that will be in place next year will be eight years old or less, it has taken hold.

However, the G-3 funding program is set to expire after 2003, so the Vikings have one year to come up with a comprehensive plan to get league funding approval. It is believed that, with the improving financial climate in the NFL, the G-3 fund may be abandoned, so the Vikings may have just the one chance to get their piece of the pie.

Considering that the $51.5 million in funding allowed through G-3 is critical to the success of the Vikings stadium effort and the denial of those funds could go a long way to ending NFL football in Minnesota, it is expected that the Vikings will get approval for the funds and give the league reason to keep the NFL in Minnesota.

* Last week, Cincinnati CB Artrell Hawkins said he was planning to hold off signing a contract until he had a chance to talk to the Vikings after the owners meetings. A bag full of Benjamins changed that, as Hawkins resigned with the Bengals Sunday, leaving the Vikings still looking for a veteran cornerback.
* One item up for discussion at the competition committee this week is changing the rule for on-side kicks. Under the current rule, if an on-side kick goes out of bounds, the kicking team gets another chance to kick the ball. Under the new rule, if the ball goes out of bounds, it will change possession.

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