Although the Minnesota Vikings are in the final year of their Metrodome lease, team owner Zygi Wilf is making it explicitly clear that they have no intentions of moving to Los Angeles.
"No," Wilf said (via ESPN) when asked whether fans in Minnesota should be nervous that the Anschutz Entertainment Group got an endorsement from the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday for the funding and timeline of the project there.
"We have momentum here in Arden Hills," Wilf said, referring to the suburb 10 miles north of Minneapolis where Vikings and Ramsey County officials have agreed to put a stadium if the state signs off on the deal.
AEG, in a move considered to monumental for L.A.’s efforts to get a team again, just announced a plan for a $1.2 billion downtown project to be known as Famers Field. The group expects for the development to be completed by 2016.
Wilf, meanwhile, has Los Angeles nowhere in his sights. Instead he and his advisor, Lester Bagley, focused their efforts on wooing Minnesota’s business and political leaders on Wednesday. They maintain that by keeping the club in Minnesota, the Vikings would play a dramatic role in job creation and social benefits for all parties involved, despite the hefty $1.1 billion project.
"Our sleeves are rolled up. We want to get it done," Bagley said.
Among that dignitaries that Wilf met with were Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton.
"It went very well. We realized that many of the details that we were negotiating in the past, and questions that were asked in the past, were answered," Wilf said regarding the meeting. "We still have a few questions to be answered, but we're very optimistic we had all the pieces in place and we'll be able to achieve bipartisan support to move this forward."
Wilf and the Vikings are ready to do their part. They have already pledged over $400 million to the project, with a minor request that calls for a half-cent tax in Ramsey County that would contribute an additional $350 million.
"We're so close, folks," Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said. "It would be a shame not to put those people to work."
Ramsey isn’t the only one confident about the proceedings.
"It's not going to be resolved by the end of this week or whatever, but we're proceeding and hope people understand the need for the time that's involved," Dayton said. "There's still a lot of good will on both sides."