Section 4.3 of the NFL's Constitution and Bylaws states that two of the requirements needed to move an NFL franchise are an "obligation to work diligently and in good faith to obtain and to maintain suitable stadium facilities" and to demonstrate that a "stalemate" has been reached in those negotiations.
Eric Grubman, NFL executive vice president of business operations, said it's the league's opinion that the Vikings have met the "good faith" criteria and would satisfy the "stalemate" criteria if Minnesota legislators don't pass a stadium deal before their session ends in 11 days.
"I don't think there's any question that if this doesn't get done this year, the league's standpoint is it starts back at Square 1 next year," Grubman said. "And what's going to change? And if nothing is going to change, you are going to have political dynamics changing. You're going to have lots of different people nominating different sites. ... These things cost millions and millions of dollars just to get it to this point. What would be the justification for doing it again on the part of the Vikings?"
The Vikings' lease at the Metrodome has expired, but they're committed to playing the 2012 season there.
However, according to the league bylaws, they are not prohibited from negotiating with other cities and can submit a written notice of a proposed relocation before Feb. 15 of the year in which they intend to move.
The Vikings wouldn't need a stadium in another city to be completed by 2013 in order to propose a relocation.
During the league's last team relocation, the Houston Oilers submitted such a letter after the 1996 season.
They announced they would play the 1997 season in Houston but would then move to Nashville upon the completion of a new stadium there. A deal was later worked out in which the Oilers played in Memphis during the 1997 season before moving on to Nashville, where they were renamed the Titans in 1999.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Art Rooney II, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and head of the league's stadium committee, are scheduled to meet with Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday morning.
According to the league bylaws, a team can "inform the League Office and the stadium landlord or other relevant public authorities that it has reached a stalemate ... . Upon such declaration, the League may elect to become directly involved in the negotiations."
If the Vikings did opt to move, league bylaws require team owners to weigh the Vikings' situation as well as several factors regarding the "collective interest" of the league before voting on whether to approve a relocation.
A move requires approval from three-quarters of the league's 32 owners.