ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings appear locked in to one more season at the Metrodome, with a team executive saying the club has no plans to file a notice of relocation with the National Football League ahead of a Wednesday deadline.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said the team remains optimistic that state lawmakers will approve a plan for a new publicly subsidized stadium this year.
“We’re making solid progress toward a solution,” Bagley said. “We’re doing everything we can to get a stadium done in Minnesota. There’s just no point to us filing that notice.”
With no apparent other market available, the Vikings had not been expected to file the notice. Yet some of their supporters had worried that a guarantee of another season in the Metrodome would wipe away any urgency lawmakers feel to head off a move. The team’s Metrodome lease expired after last season.
Bagley declined to say whether the team would soon sign a one-year lease at the Dome for the 2012 season. He repeated the team’s position that it will not extend its lease without a new stadium agreement in place.
Gov. Mark Dayton has been a key driver in trying to build support for a deal, but stadium proposals in Minneapolis and the suburb of Arden Hills each carries its own problems, including how much money the local governments can provide.
Bagley said discussions among the team, the league, the city of Minneapolis and the state have intensified toward finalizing a plan for the Dome site, but it’s not ready yet. They’re still exploring costs of that option, including what it would take to build on the east edge of the site so the team could continue playing at the Dome during most of the construction. He also said the Arden Hills site is still possible.
Owner Zygi Wilf earlier pledged $425 million toward a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills, but less for a stadium built in Minneapolis, where less room is available for nearby development.
Minnesota’s budget situation is precarious and state lawmakers face election this fall, two factors that work against any stadium proposal. But Bagley said the team still feels it has momentum.
“I think our state leaders have acknowledged that if we want an NFL team in this market, we have to get a stadium deal done,” he said.
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