Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Is this the Vikings' final game ever at the Metrodome?

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears Updated: January 1, 2012 - 12:13 PM

The Bears and Vikings have just kicked off at Mall of America Field in a regular-season finale with very little meaning. But for those with nostalgic emotions, it's worth wondering whether this will be the Vikings' final game ever inside the Metrodome. As stadium politics continue to develop, today's game is the last scheduled to be played inside the building.

Earlier this morning, Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president of stadium development met with reporters to discuss the end of the Vikings' lease and to express optimism that a stadium plan will soon be in place. Here are some highlights from Bagley's address ...

On the urgency the Vikings face ...
"Well, 30 great seasons at the Metrodome. This is our last season on our lease. It’s been 30 exciting seasons. And we appreciate our state leaders for bringing the stadium issue into play. But when our lease expires after the game today, we will be the only NFL team without a lease. So there is urgency to resolve this issue. But we are encouraged with our state leadership and where they are as a business community and organized labor. We think we’re in position to get this resolved."
 
On whether the Vikings will get support from the state government ...
"The legislature reacts to deadlines. And we’ve been talking for many years about, one, solving this issue. This conversation has been going on for 10 years. And two, the deadline is the lease expires after this game. So I think they’re aware of that. And we’ve gotten some good feedback from our state leaders from the caucus leadership as well as the governor and the bill authors and the folks in the legislature. This is an issue that needs to be resolved. It’s time. And we look forward to taking it on and resolving it."
 
On whether this will be the Vikings' last game ever at the Metrodome ..
"I can’t speculate on that. It is the last game on the lease at the Metrodome. And there are scenarios that may play out either way. But more importantly, we’ve been talking about this issue for 10 years. We have owners who are doing everything they can. The organization is doing everything we can to get this issue resolved. And we’re confident that it’s in position to be resolved. With the leadership and momentum we have at the capitol, it will get resolved."
 
On the possibility that the Vikings could still leave Minnesota ...
"It’s no secret that we have been contacted by other communities. But we’ve told them that we’re encouraged, we’re hopeful and we’re in position to get it done in Minnesota. So that has been our response. But again, our focus is on getting it done. We’re in position to get it done. And we think we are going to get it done."

On whether the Vikings would agree to play at the Metrodome as a temporary solution going forward ...
"Our position remains the same. We will not extend our lease without a stadium agreement. There are two issues regarding the lease extension. One is obviously if we build a new stadium the team will commit, the organization will commit to a long-term lease [at a new stadium] that will lock us in for the next generation. That will happen. The question is more the short term, the bridge between today when our lease expires and when the stadium deal is done. We’ve said we won’t sign a lease extension without a deal. Hopefully that’s a moot point. It could be a moot point, should be a moot point. If we can get this thing done, a short-term lease extension could be put into the legislation and we can move forward and build a new stadium for the Vikings and the state."

On the Wilfs feelings right now ...
"I think they’re encouraged. I think the Wilfs have been good owners. They’ve done everything that’s been asked. Commitments have been made to them that haven’t necessarily been followed through on. But they’ve been patient. They’ve been good owners. And they’re encouraged by the progress we’re making. We’re hopeful. We appreciate the governor’s leadership, the business community, the caucus leadership. So critical mass combining with the league coming to town and advising our leaders that it’s not in the state’s been interest to lose control of the matter, to address this issue while we still can, with the lease expiring, with the ownership putting in the third largest team and private contribution in the history of the league on the table, all those items coming together with the leadership from the state to get this thing done. So we feel good. The Wilfs are encouraged."
 
On the timeline for 2012 ...
"Right now, it’s about getting that legislative package together. And we’ve been working very hard, even up to this week through the holidays. We took a bit of a side-step while the senate leadership issue sorted itself out. But we’ve been working hard to put that legislative package together. And that package, besides the team contribution, what is the form of the state’s contribution? There’s the site and the local contribution. And those are the two things that have been really worked on hard: the due diligence of the site to make sure that we have a viable site and to make sure we have a local contribution that stands up both in this state and nationally."
 
On the initial feedback regarding potential sites in Minneapolis ...
"As you know, we were asked by legislative leaders to take a hard look at a Minneapolis site, to do due diligence on the sites in Minneapolis. And we’ve done that. We’re working on that. There are no firm answers yet. A lot of open questions that need to be resolved. We know a lot about the Arden Hills site. That’s been vetted thoroughly. It’s the ideal site. We know a lot about the Metrodome site. We don’t know much at all about Linden Avenue. We’re learning as we speak."

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2014 preseason     
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