And just as the Vikings appear to finally be making a genuine push toward working out a new stadium deal, thanks to the looming expiration of their Metrodome lease, a report has surfaced indicating that the lease may not be expiring, after all.
According to Rochelle Olson and Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the lease agreement contains a clause that extends the agreement by one year for every year in which the Metrodome is damaged and the team is forced to play elsewhere for all or part of a season. That’s precisely what happened in 2010, after a December blizzard caused the roof to collapse, forcing the Vikings to play their final two home games elsewhere. (One was played in Detroit, and the other was played at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.)
“We believe that the use agreement, because of the shortened season, calls for another year at the Dome,” Metropolitan Sports Facilities Chairman Ted Mondale said Friday.
The Vikings understandably aren’t interested in delaying the momentum based on technicalities that would wipe away their current leverage. “It is not in the state’s or anyone’s best interest to look for any reason to further delay a stadium solution,” Vikings V.P. of business affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley said.
Still, Mondale appears to be confident in his position that the Vikings will be back in 2012. “As I read it, it looked pretty clear but you could argue whether it was a full season or two games,” Mondale said. “I don’t see a scenario where they aren’t going to play at the Dome in 2012.”
Although the extra year won’t solve the broader dilemma of whether the Vikings will get a new stadium in Minnesota (or someplace else), it eliminates the short-term urgency. With only a handful of games left in the 2011 season and with the Vikings refusing to do a short-term lease at the Metrodome until the stadium situation is resolved, the Vikings were able to subtly put the screws to Minnesota. Now, Minnesota can screw back. At least for a year.