Report: Vikings candidate to play in London
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings finally have approval for their new stadium to replace the outdated Metrodome. Now they might play some games overseas as they wait for the new stadium to be built.
According to a report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota is being eyed for games to be played in London over the next four seasons.
"We've expressed an interest, and there's a process the league is following," Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development Lester Bagley told Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press before Minnesota's preseason game against Buffalo on Friday at the Metrodome. "We'll see how it shakes out."
The Vikings received financing from the state to build a $975 million stadium on the footprint of the current Metrodome site. Minnesota will be able to play in the Metrodome while some construction takes place, but it will play at least one season at the University of Minnesota's 3-year-old TCF Bank Stadium.
The Pioneer Press reported plans are being negotiated to relocate some games to Wembley Stadium in London while the Metrodome is torn down and replaced.
The Vikings will have lower revenue totals in their one season playing at TCF Bank Stadium, with reduced attendance. Minnesota also has worked out an agreement to pay the University of Minnesota to use the stadium as well as pay for several upgrades to the facility. The Vikings hope they only need to play at the facility for one season, but preparations are being made if the requirement lasts into a second season.
"We're prepared to be flexible, depending on how many games they need, when they're going to start and when they're going to stop (using TCF Bank Stadium)," University of Minnesota general counsel Mark Rotenberg told the Pioneer Press.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Pioneer Press, "We hope to announce something soon," regarding upcoming games in London, but he wouldn't comment about specific teams. The Pioneer Press reported NFL owners are scheduled to meet in October.
The NFL has long played games in London, and the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots will travel there for a game on Oct. 28. St. Louis had been discussed as being an annual participant in a game in London, but it reportedly backed out of those plans last week.
The Vikings could be the team to replace the Rams as a yearly participant before opening their own new facility.
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