Vikings Vice President for Stadium Development Lester Bagley said this afternoon that the team would be playing the 2012 season at the Metrodome.
“We won’t be sending any letters to the League,” Bagley said a day ahead of the NFL’s Feb. 15 deadline. That’s the latest date a team can tell the league that they plan to play the following season in another market.
The move was widely expected. Officials at both the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl said they hadn’t heard anything from the Vikings, making a quick relocation to California unlikely. Rose Bowl officials said they couldn’t accommodate an NFL team before 2013 at all.
Bagley said the team is “encouraged by the progress on a stadium” in Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton, during an appearance in Richfield today, said those talks had intensified in recent days, including a conference with Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale this afternoon.
Bagley said there was no deal ready to report. He expects talks to continue.
The Vikings also faced a potential legal challenge to a relocation: the team’s Metrodome lease contains a clause requiring them to add another season in the Metrodome. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has contended that missed games in 2010, due to the roof collapse, would keep the team in Minneapolis. The Vikings disputed that, but the point may be moot now that the team has taken a pass on a relocation under official NFL rules.