A crucial date is fast approaching for the Vikings and Minnesota. Wednesday, Feb. 15 is the deadline for the Vikings to request permission from the NFL to speak to other cities about relocating.
That doesn’t mean they will request permission for relocation. But it is a valuable bargaining chip and make no mistake, the Vikings will want to use any bargaining chips they have.
This is one big chess match between the Vikings and the Minnesota Legislature. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Legislature holds more pieces in the game, and they know it. But the Vikings do hold the ultimate piece, the ability to move.
It is clear, however, that the Vikings don’t want to move. They have had ample opportunities to prepare for a possible relocation, and have let the majority pass them by. Aside from a few empty threats by Lester Bagley, the Vikings have shown no interest in truly considering a move.
It’s telling that the Feb. 15 deadline is so close without any reports of the Vikings contacting the NFL. Seeking permission to explore their possibilities doesn’t commit them to a move by any means. It just gives them a real option to see what is actually available.
At this point, it’s unlikely the Vikings intend to request permission from the NFL. This could be good news for stadium supporters as it may mean that the Vikings believe they are getting close to a deal for a stadium.
On the other side, the Vikings may just be afraid of the public relations nightmare the request could spark. Logistically, it may be too late to have a serious chance at relocating if you’re just starting to look at your options in mid-February. Thus, it would make more sense at this point to just wait it out and see if the Legislature can come up with something this year. That way the Vikings look like they exhausted all efforts before finally conceding that a move was the only possibility left.
It looks like Wednesday will come and go without any fireworks. Let’s just hope it’s because real progress is being made toward a new stadium and not any other reason.