Multiple reports have said Minnesota has been selected by the NFL to play a home game at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2013 as part of the continuing international series with the league. The Associated Press reported Sunday that Minnesota vice president of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley confirmed the report.
The details of the Vikings' appearance will be worked out at the NFL owners' meeting Tuesday in Chicago, Bagley said in the AP report.
Minnesota had expressed interest in August, with the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting that the team was a top candidate to play a game in London after it received financing for a new $975 million stadium and would be displaced from the current stadium, the Metrodome, for at least one season. Sunday’s reports have Minnesota playing overseas a bit sooner than expected.
A source with the NFL told FOXSportsNorth.com that no decision has been made. A confirmation, along with an opponent and date, could come Tuesday.
The Vikings would be part of a second game in London next season. Jacksonville will face the San Francisco 49ers there on Oct. 27, 2013. The Jaguars already are scheduled to play a home game in London for three straight years. Minnesota expressed interest in replacing the Rams, who reportedly had been another team selected to play at least two home games in London but backed out earlier this year to focus on a new stadium in St. Louis to replace the Edward Jones Dome.
Minnesota, which hasn’t played overseas since 1994, when it played a game in Tokyo, is an ideal candidate to play in London with revenues that rank 31 out of 32 teams at the Metrodome. Even during the Vikings’ surprising resurgence this season at 4-2, the team's 14-year streak of sellouts ended this season. Minnesota has had three home games this season, none of which have sold out, ending a streak that dated to 1998.
Minnesota was also one of the teams this season that elected to take advantage of the NFL’s new blackout rules, lowering their sales mark to 90 percent to avoid local TV blackouts.
The Vikings had angled for a home game in London while their new stadium is being built and they are out of the Metrodome for at least one season and possibly part of a second.
Minnesota has an agreement to play home games at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.
The Vikings played the first NFL game in London, a preseason game, against the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983.