Stadium bill passes
The Minnesota Senate has approved a plan to build a $975 million stadium for the Vikings, another big step toward the new facility the team has chased for more than a decade.
The Senate vote Tuesday came a day after the House approved its own stadium bill. A conference committee will work out differences, and the Vikings are already on record against the House version for a $105 million hike in the amount they would pay. The Senate’s version includes a smaller bump.
If both chambers pass the final product, the measure goes to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who has led the charge for a new stadium for months.
The Vikings say they can’t make enough money at the 30-year-old Metrodome to compete.
Ahead of a critical vote on the nearly $1 billion facility, senators revamped a longstanding stadium plan to impose a collection of user fees while also increasing the upfront private contribution by $25 million.
The House approved a bill Monday that requires the team to kick in $532 million toward the stadium – $105 million above what a franchise official previously called a “set in stone” ceiling.
It was clear stadium supporters wanted to turn to offense rather than defense as the bill reached the Senate. It was Sen. Julie Rosen, the stadium bill sponsor, who promoted user fees on suites, parking and Vikings merchandise.
Around the league
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed former New York Jets defensive end Ropati Pitoitua. The former Washington State player became a free agent after playing in 22 games over the past two seasons with the Jets. … Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon and is expected to make a full recovery. Meanwhile, the Ravens signed veteran strong safety Bernard Pollard to a three-year contract extension and wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones to a two-year, $7 million contract. … Stacy Robinson, a wide receiver who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants before working with the players’ union, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 50. … The Philadelphia Eagles and second-round draft pick Mychal Kendricks have agreed to a four-year contract. Kendricks started every game at linebacker for California the last three years. …The San Diego Chargers have signed draft picks Melvin Ingram, Kendall Reyes and David Molk to four-year contracts. Ingram, an outside linebacker from South Carolina, was San Diego’s first-round pick, and Reyes, a defensive end from Connecticut, was taken in the second round. Molk, an All-America center from Michigan, was taken in the seventh round. … The New York Jets have restructured defensive lineman Mike DeVito’s contract, reducing the veteran player’s salary this season after drafting Quinton Coples in the first round. … The Houston Texans have signed veteran kicker Shayne Graham to compete against Houston rookie Randy Bullock, a fifth-round draft pick. … The Carolina Panthers have signed punter Nick Harris, an 11-year veteran, to compete with rookie Brad Nortman. … The Atlanta Falcons have released former Pro Bowl fullback Ovie Mughelli in a move that clears salary cap space and creates an opening for fifth-round draft pick Bradie Ewing.