Vikings say N.O. to L.A. stadium intrigue

Zygi Wilf (Hannah Foslein/Getty)

The Vikings say they aren't interested in the stadium development looming in Los Angeles. They are focused on getting the final details of their Arden Hills stadium agreement sewn up and ready for a potential special session.

MANKATO, Minn. — With one word, Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf tried to squelch any fears that his team might move to Los Angeles.

That word? "No."

Plain and simple, the Vikings aren't interested in anything happening in California, Wilf said Wednesday after being asked whether fans should be worried about LA's stadium effort gaining momentum.

"We have momentum here in Arden Hills," he added, referring to the team's proposal to build a new stadium in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

A stadium bill was introduced in the Minnesota Legislature in April but made little progress before it was tabled because of the increased focus on settling the state's budget woes.

Wilf said he met with Gov. Mark Dayton last week to discuss the possibility of a special session this fall to address the Vikings' stadium needs. Once the team plays out the 2011 season in the Metrodome, it will be the only NFL team without a stadium lease unless the legislature convenes to approve a bill.

"We realized that many of the details that we were negotiating in the past, and questions that were asked in the past, were answered," Wilf said of the status of the team's proposal with Ramsey County. "We still have a few questions to be answered, but we're very optimistic we had all the pieces in place and we'll be able to achieve bipartisan support to move this forward."

Lester Bagley, the Vikings' VP for public affairs and stadium development, said the team believes that virtually all the pieces are in place for Dayton to call the special session.

"We've had a framework of an agreement for months," Bagley said. "There are a couple of items to button down, and we're anxious to button down. I think the governor is willing to proceed. We can just make the case we think there's a compelling reason to complete it this fall."

The Vikings' compelling case, Bagley said, focuses on three key factors: creating jobs, the increased cost of the $1 billion proposal if another year is added to the timeline and the expiration of the Metrodome lease.

Patrick Donnelly writes for Donnelly has spent the last 15 years covering the Minnesota sports scene for such outlets as The Associated Press, and Viking Update magazine. He's also co-author of The Student-Athlete's College Recruitment Guide (Checkmark Books, 2009). Recommended Stories