Posted by Josh Katzowitz
The Minnesota Vikings clearly want to get the heck out of the Metrodome. Their lease with the 29-year-old building expires at the end of this season, and considering the roof caved in (!) last year, you could understand why the franchise would be happy never to play there again after 2011.
But the Minneapolis Star Tribune has some bad news. The Vikings might have to play in the dome for another season, because of a clause in their lease with the Metrodome.
|The Vikings and L.A.|
"It is not in the state's or anyone's best interest to look for any reason to further delay a stadium solution," team vice president Lester Bagley said.
The truth is, though, the stadium solution has stagnated, because the team could wind up $350 million short to build a new stadium in Arden Hills and because that potential stadium wouldn’t be started or completed any time soon.
That discomfort caused the Vikings to release a statement on Wednesday, saying, they “are concerned about the turn of events surrounding a stadium solution in Minnesota. While we have been encouraged by the efforts of Governor Dayton and the four caucus leaders to seriously discuss this issue, these recent developments are very disappointing. The Vikings stadium issue has been heavily debated in the public for over 10 years. With less than 90 days left on the team’s lease, the urgency to act is on us.”
More from the paper on what this clause means:
The commission's 1979 lease agreement between the Vikings and the commission requires the team to play at the Metrodome for 30 years. A clause buried deep in the agreement specifies that if the Metrodome is damaged and the team is forced to play elsewhere for even part of a season, they are obligated to play an additional full season at the Dome.
Called the Force Majeure clause, it states in part that: "For each football season, or part of football season, while this Agreement is suspended, the term of this Agreement ... shall be extended by one football season."
Force majeure translates from French as a superior force. In U.S. legal parlance, it means an unavoidable circumstance or accident.
Whether a court finds that the two home games the Vikings had to play elsewhere -- one at the University of Minnesota’s stadium and one in Detroit -- constitutes that the team must stay another season could be the deciding factor. But either way, the city, state and team need to figure out how to get a new stadium built.
Otherwise, those smoggy lights of Los Angeles will continue to look mighty appealing.
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