ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota state senate on Thursday approved a plan to build a $975 million stadium for the Vikings on the site of the old Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. Gov. Mark Dayton has promised to sign the bill, which calls for just over half the cost to be paid with public money.
The deal guarantees the Vikings’ future in Minnesota for three decades.
The team would pay $477 million, which is $50 million more than team owners initially committed. The total public expense is slightly higher: $348 million for the state and $150 million for the city of Minneapolis.
Even before the final Senate vote, the bill had taken on an air of inevitability after the House approved it and adjourned for the year hours earlier. Opponents who criticized the state’s share backed by expanded gambling couldn’t muster the votes to block the bill.
USFL to return in March
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A reincarnation of the United States Football League that folded in 1987 plans to kick off next March. The USFL is looking at a 14-game season that would conlcude in June. Its players would then be free to join NFL clubs. Cities currently being considered are Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Antonio or Austin, Texas; Columbus or Akron, Ohio; Oklahoma City; Omaha, Neb.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Memphis, Tenn.
Campbell gets 5-year extension
TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell has agreed to a five-year contract extension. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound lineman had 51 solo tackles and eight sacks last season.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The NFL is looking for potential replacement officials while it negotiates with the officials’ association on a new contract. The previous contract expired after last season.
The previous contract expired after last season and another negotiating session is expected later this month, NFL Referees Association executive director Tim Millis said the NFL “did something like this” during contract talks in 2001, but did not do it during negotiations in 2006.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says Thursday, “We expect to reach an agreement, but must have contingency plans in place.”
More players sue the NFL
LOS ANGELES — More than 60 former NFL players have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles, joining hundreds of others who claim pro football didn’t properly protect its players from concussions. Lead plaintiff Art Monk played wide receiver for the Washington Redskins from 1980 to 1993, and said in the lawsuit filed last week that he suffered multiple concussions.
More than 1,000 former NFL players are suing the league across the country, saying not enough was done to inform players about the dangers of concussions in the past, and not enough is done to take care of them today.
The league has said any allegation that it intentionally sought to mislead players is without merit.
Bowers tears Achilles’ tendon
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay defensive end Da’Quan Bowers has torn his right Achilles’ tendon during an offseason workout and will undergo surgery.
The second-year pro out of Clemson was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft. He started six of his 16 games as a rookie, finishing with 25 tackles. Bowers was injured Thursday at the team’s practice facility.
Also, the Bucs announced undrafted college free-agent quarterback Jordan Jefferson was released.
Brother of NFL players accused in killing
WASHINGTON — The younger brother of NFL players Vernon and Vontae Davis has been charged with murder in the death of a man visiting the nation’s capital from Colorado.
D.C. police say 19-year-old Michael Davis was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder while armed in the death of 66-year-old Gary Dederichs of Denver. Davis was previously arrested in connection with two assault cases and was being held in jail at the time of his arrest.
Police say they were called on April 24 to the city’s Petworth area for the report of an unconscious person. Officers found a man suffering from head trauma and he was pronounced dead at the scene.