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Minnesota lawmakers revive Vikings stadium talks

By David Bailey

(Reuters) - The Minnesota Legislature revived efforts on Friday to agree on funding for a new stadium for the National Football League Vikings after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with the state's top political leaders to renew discussions.

A $975 million plan to build a stadium for the team stalled on Monday night when a House committee voted against advancing it even to consideration by the full House, sparking concerns the team could consider moving.

Legislative leaders said the stadium talks were complicated, but they would push for a vote this year by the full House and Senate after meeting with Governor Mark Dayton, Goodell and Art Rooney II, Pittsburgh Steelers president and chairman of the league's stadium committee.

"There were no implied threats or any threats at all," Goodell told a news conference. "What we talked about is the importance of creating a solution that works for the team and works for the community."

Goodell said the Vikings' owners were frustrated, but committed to the community. The owners have never threatened to move the team.

"They recognize for them to continue to operate here successfully and to field a competitive team, they need a new stadium," Goodell said.

After the meeting, Minnesota political leaders offered no guarantees the Legislature would approve a stadium funding plan.

"There are hurdles there, they are not going to be easy, but they are doable," Dayton told a news conference.

Later Friday, the Senate local government committee voted 8-6 to pass the bill supporting the $975 million plan for a stadium at the current Metrodome site without recommendation to the Senate's economic growth committee.

The committee took no action on a second proposal for a $1.1 billion stadium project at a former U.S. Army munitions plant in Arden Hills, a Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb.

Republican Senate Majority Leader David Senjem and Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers called the meeting with the NFL cordial and stadium proposals a complicated matter.

Dayton said legislators asked NFL officials about the possibility of a Vikings' move to Los Angeles during their meeting. They were told the NFL would like a team in Los Angeles, but not the Vikings, although other cities also were interested in the Vikings, Dayton said.

The Minnesota talks came a day after the San Francisco 49ers broke ground on a $1.2 billion stadium project in the heart of Silicon Valley about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco.

The Vikings have played at the Metrodome since 1982. The roof collapsed in late 2010 in a heavy snowstorm, forcing the Vikings to play one home game in Detroit and a second at the University of Minnesota stadium nearby.

Proposed funding for the stadium plans has included contributions from the state, the local area and the team. Several funding sources for the state and local contributions have been considered, including expanding charitable gambling.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune; Desking by Peter Cooney)