The Minnesota Vikings will be back in Mankato in August for pre-season training, and kicking off in the Metrodome in September, despite their ongoing stadium dispute.
They've backed off a threat to relocate the team if they don't get a new stadium — at least for 2012.
The team had suggested it might relocate if there's a stalemate over building a new stadium to replace the 30-year-old facility in downtown Minneapolis.
The National Football League requires its teams to notify the rest of the teams in the league, as well as their host communities, by Feb. 15 if they plan to relocate.
But Vikings vice president Lester Bagley says stadium talks have progressed to the point that Vikings owners believe they're close to a deal. So the team won't meet today's NFL deadline to notify the league of a 2012 relocation.
One of the chief stadium backers at the Capitol, Sen. Julie Rosen, says a stadium deal should happen soon, even before the November elections.
"You have all new members. You have to go through this whole thing again. You're still going to get asked about it on the campaign trail. Why not take the vote right now? Why not keep the momentum going. There's quite a bit of momentum. So keep it going."
Negotiations have recently focused on a site near the Metrodome. Gov. Mark Dayton said yesterday that stadium talks have intensified.
While not legally binding, the NFL's relocation deadline reflects the practical difficulty of preparing facilities and schedules for an NFL team.