NFL: No Los Angeles Vikings in 2012

We've been hearing for months about how the Vikings' expiring Metrodome lease means it's urgent for lawmakers to get a stadium deal done early this legislative session.

Los Angeles is ready and willing, so goes this logic, to have the team play in the Rose Bowl for a couple years while a new stadium is constructed in the country's second largest media market. Without a new Minneapolis or Arden Hills stadium in place, nothing would stop our beloved-but-cursed NFL team from bolting to sunny SoCal in time for the 2012 season.

But now, the NFL itself has gone on the record saying it's "quite unlikely" Los Angeles can be ready to host a team by the time next season rolls around. It appears there will be no LA Vikings in 2012 regardless of what happens in the Minnesota legislature this session.

The Pioneer Press quotes Eric Grubman, NFL executive vice president of business ventures, as saying that while "it would be a milestone to get a franchise back in Los Angeles. But it is quite unlikely [either possible LA venue] would be able to put together that kind of deal with the time remaining for the 2012 season." Grubman's comments echoed similar remarks made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during a December owners meeting.

The NFL's relocation deadline is February 15, and Grubman said there isn't enough time between now and then for owners to approve relocation. At least three-fourths of the NFL's 32 owners must support a proposed relocation in order for a franchise to move.

Zygi and Dayton are making progress toward a stadium deal on the Dome site.
Zygi and Dayton are making progress toward a stadium deal on the Dome site.

Meanwhile, just two days after a team spokesman said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was "extremely frustrated" with Gov. Dayton's Metrodome-or-bust stance, it appears the Vikings are warming to the idea of building a $918 million stadium on the site after all.

Following a meeting yesterday with Dayton, Zygi said he's "optimistic" that the team could agree to a new stadium at the Metrodome site, though he held out hope Ramsey County will figure out a non-tax-increase local funding source for a stadium in Arden Hills before the week is through.

Following yesterday's meeting, Vikes spokesman Lester Bagley was asked about the possibility of the team relocating to LA. He said ownership is "100 percent focused on getting this deal done in Minnesota."

"We are encouraged by today's progress and feel the stadium is positioned to get resolved during this session," he added.

So, for better or worse, it looks like we're stuck with the Vikings for at least one more year, and perhaps much longer.

Previous coverage:
-- Dayton to Vikes: Metrodome site or bust
-- Shakopee, out of nowhere, announces Vikings stadium bid
-- Vikings stadium: Minneapolis, Ramsey County release final funding proposals
-- Vikes stadium: Dayton asks city, Ramsey County to play hurry-up
-- Vikings warming to idea of staying in Minneapolis

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