The race for the NFL to return to Los Angeles is starting to hit a snag in terms of the number possible candidates for relocation, as the Minnesota Vikings have reached a preliminary deal with the city of Minneapolis to build a jointly funded stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Reports indicate that the parties have reached an agreement in principle to build a $975 million stadium, with money coming from the Vikings, the NFL, the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota.
The city would contribute $150 million in construction costs to the downtown Minneapolis project. The state would pay $398 million and the Vikings would pay $427 million. The city also would pay approximately $180 million in operating costs over the next 30 years, the sources said.
The sources close to negotiations spoke on condition they not be identified. They added that details such as cost overruns remain to be worked out, but an announcement is anticipated next week.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley declined to comment Friday on the numbers, but said “there is no agreement. Everything is subject to negotiations. We’re working hard on an agreement, but we’re not there yet.”
If the preliminary agreement holds, it is only the beginning. The package would need to pass the Legislature and likely the Minneapolis City Council – neither of which is assured. The National Football League would also have to approve the agreement.
With more details surely to come out over the coming weeks, what’s it mean now for Los Angeles? Well, for one, Adrian Peterson won’t be running in for touchdowns at the Rose Bowl or Farmers Field anytime soon, at least as part of the home team. The Vikings were always one of the most mentioned suitors for Los Angeles, but the realistic chances that they would spurn Minnesota for Southern California was always far fetched. Had they moved, they surely would have kept their branding in Minnesota, as there’s too much Vikings history to be transplanted in Los Angeles. Then again, if the Rams can keep their name and colors, it can happen to anyone.
But with the Vikings, you had to imagine that they were always going to get the deal done with Minneapolis. Unlike the Jaguars who have ownership issues, or the Chargers who wouldn’t be losing an arm and a leg to drive up the 5 and play in Los Angeles, the Vikings were only a “potential” suitor for Los Angeles because city officials in Minneapolis favored the Twins first, forcing the Vikings to use the perceived allure of LA as leverage to get a deal done with the City of Minneapolis. And you know what? It worked.
Looks like we’re down to the Chargers, Bills, Rams and Jaguars?