Vikings Set to Play Final Game at Mall of America Field on Sunday

Team lease set to expire — Stadium resolution needed to keep Vikings in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (Dec 31, 2011) – In what has been a thirty year tradition, the Chicago Bears will come to Minneapolis to face the Minnesota Vikings for possibly the last time. On Sunday, January 1st, the Vikings will take the field at the Metrodome for their last contractually obligated game under their thirty year lease.

To date, the Vikings have not been willing to renew their lease with the Metrodome stating they will only do so if a solution for a new stadium is finalized. Recent attempts by Governor Dayton and the Vikings’ chief bill authors Representative Morrie Lanning (R-Moorhead) and Senator Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) to push a bill into a special session were squashed by House Speaker Kurt Zellers, citing more site diligence and public hearings were required. Senatorial hearings in November and December helped the Vikings clear one of Zellers’ hurdles and Minneapolis is expected to have their final site selected mid January.

However, on February 1st, 2012 the Vikings effectively become free agents and can relocate as early as February 15th when NFL owners convene for their annual meeting – and could vote to move the Vikings.

“It’s conceivable that NFL owners who are keeping the Vikings in the black through league subsidies could throw up their arms and say, ‘It’s been ten years, considerable action by three ownership groups and zero movement by the Minnesota Legislature – time to move the team,’” says Cory Merrifield, Founder of the fan group SavetheVikes.org

“It is important that the State Legislature realizes that they cannot push this issue off another year, nor to the end of this session,” says Merrifield. “Immediate action on a Vikings stadium needs to be taken now if we are to keep the team in Minnesota.”

To date team owner Zygi Wilf has offered up $420 million towards the stadium, third largest contribution in NFL history. Lanning and Rosen have said they would like expanded gaming to be a part of the state package, which became a strong possibility after the Senate Majority recently voted Senator David Senjem (R-Rochester) as their new Leader. Senjem has been a supporter of Racino in the past and is currently eyeing slot machines at Canterbury Park and Running Aces as a way to pay back school shifts, and possibly a stadium. Electronic pull tabs have also been discussed at the Capitol by Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) as a way to pay for a stadium.
Merrifield is encouraged by recent developments, but fears it could be too little, too late, “with two stadiums being built in Los Angeles and another host community courting the Vikings, we don’t have time for eleventh hour politics.”

“We have debated the pros and cons to death. The Vikings brought back a plan and a partner only to have it shot down by Zellers, and now time is up on the lease,” says Merrifield. “With a state surplus and expanded gaming options being discussed, there is no where left for lawmakers to hide. It’s time to put this to a vote and get a definitive answer – yes or no.”

Merrifield will be tailgating in Purple Lot 2 on 3rd Ave between Park and Portland before the Vikings game on Sunday, educating fans and encouraging them to act. The press is encouraged to come between 10am and 11am to get fans’ comments and join in on what could be the last Vikings game in Minnesota.

SavetheVikes.org is a grassroots, nonpartisan group dedicated to securing the Vikings a new home in Minnesota. The group is open to many forms of stadium solutions and financing, and is an advocate for keeping the Vikings a Minnesota team. Founder Cory Merrifield created SavetheVikes.org to be for the fans, by the fans. The group is not owned or operated by any company or political organization.

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3 Responses to “Vikings Set to Play Final Game at Mall of America Field on Sunday”

  1. Strumdatjag says:

    I have been a Vikings fan since I was six years old (the Vikes’ first season). I will be sad watching their last game in Minnesota tomorrow. It will be many years until the NFL returns to our state. It’s been a great half century of Vikings football. I don’t blame the owners; I blame this legislature and Governor as well as previous legislatures and Governors. So ong Vikings, it’s been good while it lasted.

  2. Dr. K says:

    It would truly be a sad day if the Vikings were to leave but I don’t think they will. It’s my opinion that the state legislature will soon pass a bill keeping the Vikings in Minnesota. The Vikings would then sign a 2-3 year lease to continue in the Metrodome until the new stadium is completed.

  3. Dynalee10 says:

    I am an out of state Vikes fanatic (Ohio) and I have traveled to the Metrodome 5 times . I wish they get a new stadium and I hope they move back outside on grass and most importantly inMINNESOTA!

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