Roger Goodell was in the Twin Cities last month to take a look at the Taj Ma Zygi, the new Vikings stadium, and the team also arranged for a cluster of customers to fawn over the NFL commissioner at a "fan forum.''

This despot again brought up his idea of an 18-game regular season for his league. Every time Goodell does so, it is further evidence that he sees the players as nothing more than a nuisance required for the NFL and its owners to rake in their millions.

Marvin Miller, the organizing genius, changed the face of major professional sports in the mid-'70s, when he was able to force baseball into free agency for its players.

There hasn't been a commissioner in the three large-revenue leagues — NFL, MLB and NBA — in the four decades since then with less regard for the talent than Goodell.

NFLers are involved in the most-dangerous team sport ever popularized in this country. And yet all Goodell and his owners can do is plot to keep more of the billions for themselves and less for players who are ruining their physical (and possibly mental) futures.

The Vikings went to Phoenix last week for a game only four days after a smash-up with Seattle.

There is no reason to put the players through a full schedule of these Thursday games (rather than the long-held tradition of a couple of Thanksgiving games), other than the blood-sucking greed of owners who would be swathed in scores of millions of profits per team, with or without the Thursday TV package.

The Vikings played stoutly, lost, and the supposed good news is that Harrison Smith, Linval Joseph and Anthony Barr could be back for the Bears next Sunday.

Yes, these underpaid, phenomenal defenders will duck-tape themselves together and try to get back on the field for the stretch drive, all for the glory of Goodell, Zygi Wilf and the other profit mongers worried not about their health.

If the commissioner had his way, there would be five games left in that drive, not three. Roger Goodell is an unconscionable man in an expensive suit.