The preliminary agreement to use public money to help build a new Vikings stadium includes a provision that sets the Vikings up to host games away from the new stadium.
Mike Kaszuba of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Vikings and the NFL want the team to have the ability to play up to four regular season and two exhibition home games “off site” over a 10-year period. That site could be London or anywhere else that the NFL wants to play games in the coming years as they try to spread their wings internationally. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Kaszuba that the language is necessary “in the event the team plays in a game as part of our International Series.”
Ted Mondale, the state’s chief stadium negotiator, said the same thing, but also said that it would “not likely” involve a regular season home game. It might not be likely, but the league’s commitment to playing regular season games overseas and the presence of language allowing them to have the Vikings play host to those games will mean that it is always a possibility.
With the flap over whether or not the Rams’ lease allowed them to play a home game in London earlier this year, it’s not surprising to learn that the league wants this kind of language in the agreement before the start of a proposed 30-year lease in Minneapolis. The funding package still needs the approval of the Legislature, which is expected to take up the issue in the next few weeks.