Vikings V.P. of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley joined PFT Live on Thursday for a comprehensive update of the effort to get a new stadium in Minnesota for the team.
Momentum seems to be building for a resolution of the situation, one way or the other. Bagley said that, on Monday, Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders will meet in the hopes of identifying possible sources for the state’s $300 million contribution, and also to explore whether a special legislative session before the end of the year can be scheduled.
With the Metrodome lease expiring after the 2011 season, Bagley said the Vikings refuse to extend the lease absent a plan for a new venue. And if the lease expires absent a plan for a new venue, all sorts of things could happen.
Most significantly, Bagley said that “more than one community” has contacted the team about a possible move. Though Bagley declined to identify the communities involved, he believes that the efforts will become public if/when the lease expires.
Obviously, there’s a chance that the Vikings are bluffing — not about the fact that other communities want the team to move there, but about the Vikings’ genuine willingness to relocate.
Either way, the powers-that-be in Minnesota won’t know whether it’s a bluff until the powers-that-be call the bluff. And if they call the bluff and it’s not a bluff, the Vikings could be playing elsewhere as soon as 2012.
Look for things to move fairly quickly. Minnesota needs to decide, once and for all, whether it will build a new stadium. And if the new stadium won’t be built, the Vikings need to decide, once and for all, what they plan to do.
A year-to-year arrangement simply won’t work. Fans will begin to detach from the team absent some closure as to whether the team will be staying or going.
Thus, build it or not, move or not, now is the time to bring this issue to a boil.