NFL to Look at Stadium Progress

The Vikings have tried unsuccessfully for years to get the State Legislature to approve funding for a new stadium. After Zygi Wilf spoke to owners earlier this week in Philadelphia, the NFL is going to send a contingent to Minnesota to get a feel for the climate of getting a stadium deal done.

The Vikings have found the going slow with the Minnesota Legislature as it pertains to securing funding for a new stadium. With the state showing little to no interest in financing a new stadium, despite deals being worked out with Hennepin County for a Twins stadium and a new football stadium for the University of Minnesota, the Vikings and the NFL have found the process frustrating.

Earlier this week, Zygi Wilf made a presentation to league officials at the owners quarterly meeting in Philadelphia, saying that it is a "difficult environment" for funding a stadium. As a result, the NFL is going to send a group of its own to Minnesota to meet with state leaders to independently determine if a stadium can and will get built for the Vikings.

Wilf has promised that he won't move the Vikings out of Minnesota and that it is an institution in the state. However, at his presentation he spoke of the pending expiration of the lease on the Metrodome that runs through 2011.

The Vikings plan to make a presentation to the Legislature during its 2008 session. A similar presentation was expected for the 2007 session, but a deal with Anoka County fell through and left the stadium plan up in the air. Under the most recent estimate, a retractable roof stadium would cost about $950 million, with about $650 million of that being paid for through state funding.

* Brad Childress remained mum on his decision at quarterback for Sunday's game, saying that either Tarvaris Jackson will start or he will be the No. 3 quarterback. The Vikings have to list their inactive players (which includes the No. 3 QB) a little more than an hour before game time. It appears Childress won't announce that decision until then, although most people believe it will be Kelly Holcomb who gets the start.
* The Vikings have ruled out Dwight Smith for a second straight game with a hamstring injury. He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Tank Williams.
* The Vikings listed LB Vinny Ciurciu (ankle) as doubtful on their final injury report Friday. DE Erasmus James (shoulder) and RB Naufahu Tahi (knee) are questionable. RB Chester Taylor (groin), OG Anthony Herrera (knee) and TE Visanthe Shiancoe (groin) are probable.
* The Eagles listed safety Brian Dawkins (neck) as doubtful and OT Jon Runyan (tailbone) and safety Sean Considine (ankle) as questionable.
* If Runyan doesn't play, it will be news, since he has started 184 consecutive games.

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