Hartman: Expect NFL to back Wilfs in stadium snag

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2013 - 12:03 AM

The Vikings owners are confident a lawsuit judgment and a review of their business won’t hinder progress.

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Vikings owner Zygi Wilf (left) and team vice president Lester Bagley.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune file

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I have to believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has talked to Gov. Mark Dayton about a lawsuit against the Wilf family by former business partners over an apartment project in New Jersey.

And I expect Goodell will make a trip here soon to assure everybody that the multibillion dollar NFL operation will stand behind the Vikings owners.

Goodell also will assure local politicians and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority — who are calling the shots on everything connected with the building of the new Vikings stadium — that once the due diligence review of the Wilf family’s real estate business led by Peter Carter of the Dorsey & Whitney law firm is complete, final negotiations on a stadium agreement can proceed.

I spent a good part of Friday’s preseason game in the Wilfs’ suite, and they refused to go into detail about their legal issues, but they believe they will pass the MSFA’s review and progress will resume on building the stadium.

Furthermore, because of my friendship with late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the fact that some of the Wilf family hold stock in the Yankees, I’ve gotten to know Zygi and Mark Wilf well.

While I am not a psychologist, I have watched the two brothers go crazy when a Vikings player makes a mistake or the team lost a game, and they didn’t seem the least bit concerned about the investigation. They believe once the review is done, it will show the lawsuit has nothing to do with their financial ability to provide the money they have guaranteed to build the stadium.

Believe me, NFL owners won’t allow the Vikings stadium to go down the drain. Once it is in operation, the Wilfs and all the other owners will make a lot of money.

Progress held up

Meanwhile, the delay of getting started on construction could hold up the hiring of a building operator by the Vikings and the MSFA.

According to Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development: “It will be a third-party operator whose responsibility it will be to run the facility on game day and keep it up, keep it clean, and do all the work that you need to do to operate an NFL facility. It’ll also be used on [potential NCAA] Final Fours and all the other events for the public. We’re a couple months away from probably hiring that building operator.

“It’s more likely going to be a company. There are several companies that do that type of work. It’ll be like SMG, they’re a company that does this, AEG is a company that runs the Target Center, that’s a likely candidate for the job, but we haven’t got there yet. We have a lot of work on our plate before we get there.

“It’ll be one general manager but they have staff. It’s a company that will come in. I don’t know what the budget will be.”

More replays for MLB?

Look for Major League Baseball owners to vote Thursday in favor of a new replay system. Managers would be able to call for a replay of controversial umpire calls, except for balls and strikes.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig assigned former major league managers Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre, who work in the MLB office, to present a plan to the owners Wednesday that will allow for replays on more than only home runs. If the owners approve it, MLB would begin negotiating between the Players Association and the umpire’s union on the plan, which possibly could be implemented by the start of the 2014 season.

Burton’s season

Twins reliever Jared Burton has had stretches of the season where he has been great, and a stretch where he has been awful. That inconsistency resembles the Twins’ season.

Burton started the season posting a 2.03 ERA in 26⅔ innings from April 3 to June 4. He had 28 strikeouts to only 10 walks and was holding hitters to a .204 average.

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Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 2
Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister 3 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle - LP: F. Rodney 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 3
Boston 2 Top 9th Inning
Chicago WSox 3
Kansas City 4 Bottom 9th Inning
Houston 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland 4 Bottom 4th Inning
LA Angels 1
Colorado 1 Top 5th Inning
San Diego 1
Los Angeles 0 Bottom 4th Inning
San Francisco 1
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 111 FINAL
Milwaukee 103
Dallas 105 FINAL
Memphis 106
Detroit 111 FINAL
Oklahoma City 112
Houston 100 FINAL
New Orleans 105
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Brooklyn 85 FINAL
Cleveland 114
Philadelphia 100 FINAL
Miami 87
Utah 136 FINAL
Minnesota 130
Washington 118 FINAL
Boston 102
Toronto 92 FINAL
New York 95
Golden State 43 2nd Qtr 6:50
Denver 34
LA Clippers 36 2nd Qtr 8:29
Portland 47
Phoenix 38 2nd Qtr 4:41
Sacramento 36
Montreal 5 FINAL(OT)
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 0 2nd Prd 13:48
Anaheim 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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