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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – WCCO’s Dave Lee spoke with Lester Bagley, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Minnesota Vikings who reiterated what owner Zygi Wilf told the press Wednesday regarding an NFL-ready facility in Los Angeles and the possibility of moving the team.
“We think our solution is here in Minnesota and its right in front of us. As you well know we’ve been pounding away and trying to move the ball forward for a number of years,” said Bagley.
Bagley also said they were disappointed they weren’t able to close out the stadium deal in the last legislative session. But they have momentum, a great plan and a great solution in the Arden Hills site.
WCCO’s Dave Lee Interviews Lester Bagley
On Wednesday in Mankato, Wilf and Bagley mingled with civic and business leaders from the northern suburbs. Bagley said it was just a courtesy visit.
“We invited a group down and they took us up on it. We thought it was a good opportunity to have a little stadium update, have some lunch, have conversation with the owner and, at the same time, take in a little Vikings football close-up,” Bagley said.
Last week, Wilf met with Gov. Mark Dayton to talk about a new stadium. Dayton told Wilf he is willing to call a special session of the legislature but it has to be collaborative, it has to be bi-partisan and there needs to be a compelling reason.
According to Bagley, that was followed by a discussion about the reasons to call a special session, including the creation of jobs.
“We need to try and get people work and get something cooking with the economy. Saving construction jobs — 7500 jobs there [stadium construction] and 30,000 ongoing jobs,” he said.
Bagley also said another compelling reason is, if they don’t get it done this fall, then the costs are going to rise an additional $53 million, which will end up costing everyone more.
That’s not the only consequence the team will face if a deal isn’t met:
“If we do not resolve this issue this fall, and it comes January or February, the Vikings will be the only team in the NFL without a lease. That’s something that is important to the governor and important to our state that we try to come to grips with this long discussion before the lease expires,” explained Bagley.