OK gang. We're approaching the NFC North blog witching hour, when anything I try to write will come out in some form of primitive English that makes no sense and offers no one any deeper understanding of the issue at hand.
As of this posting, it does not appear there will be an final resolution of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium issue overnight.
The conference committee charged with merging the two stadium bills has yet to formally meet and announce a final bill. Its most recent start time was announced to be 1 a.m. ET, with a cut-off time of 2 a.m. ET. Without the conference committee's official blessing, the bill can't be sent to either the House of Representatives or the Senate for final confirmation. As of late Wednesday evening, the plan was for the House to debate and vote on the bill overnight, with the Senate following on Thursday morning.
Regardless, Thursday would be the final day that voting is allowed by law in the 2012 legislative session.
There was ample evidence, however, that the conference committee had largely negotiated and settled upon a bill during private meetings Wednesday. It was briefly posted on the state web site around 10:30 p.m. ET before being taken down for further revision. Assuming its numbers were accurate, the Vikings' share was pegged at $477 million -- or $50 million more than the team originally committed. The state would pay $348 million and the city of Minneapolis $150 million. The Vikings would also contribute an average of $13.5 million in operating costs over the course of a 30-year lease.
The Vikings have not yet said whether they will agree to raise their commitment. A team spokesman said chief stadium lobbyist Lester Bagley would make "team comments" directly to the conference committee when it convened.
Legislators appear to have backed the Vikings into a corner. Would they really walk away from the deal over $50 million? But even if the Vikings don't immediately agree, House leaders were expecting to take a vote sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.
The Senate would then pick up the bill Thursday morning. So let's reconvene then, shall we?