Good morning to all. As we suggested late Wednesday night, Minnesota lawmakers did indeed work through the night to continue pushing the Minnesota Vikings' stadium bill to completion. In the end, it looks like the Vikings will get final resolution on their decade-long quest for a new facility by the end of Thursday.
Here's what happened between the time we signed off and now:
Critically, the Vikings agreed to increase the private contribution to the project from $427 million to $477 million, a $50 million raise that lawmakers put into the final merged bill. My guess is the Vikings knew all along that this might happen at the final moments and budgeted accordingly, but in the end, as team spokesman Lester Bagley said: "The Vikings and [owning family the] Wilfs have stepped up. The Wilfs have stepped up and made a huge commitment to Minnesota and a huge commitment to Vikings fans."
The House of Representatives approved the bill after hours of debate at about 4:30 a.m. ET. The final vote was 71-60.
That leaves two final steps, both of which are expected today. The Minnesota Senate will take up debate and voting at some point Thursday morning. If the bill passes, as expected, it will be sent off to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature and the legislature will adjourn for the year.
"We're not quite there yet, but this was a big day," Bagley said Thursday morning. Referring to the upcoming Senate vote, Bagley said: "We're one step away."
Again, we'll save the grand conclusions and analysis for when this bill is fully completed and executed. But I think it's fair to say that it's very likely the Vikings will get their stadium and will be removed from the NFL's list of relocation candidates for the next 30 years. Stick around for coverage through the day here on the blog. (And then we'll get back to our regular offseason routine of making stuff up.)