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Vikings, stadium authority have deal to host MLS team in new stadium

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The Vikings have struck a business deal with the State of Minnesota to host a Major League Soccer franchise in the team's new stadium.

The Vikings don't have a soccer team yet. But Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said a rent agreement would help signal pro soccer that Minneapolis is ready.

Lester Bagley, Viking vice president, said the team might make a formal bid for a franchise later this year.

"Las Vegas is competing. Sacramento is competing. Minneapolis is competing. So there's competition that they have to sort out. I can't speak for the league in terms of what they want to do, but we think we're interested in bringing a viable proposal forward, and we'll see where it goes," Bagley said.

The Vikings were part of the promotional effort for the Guinness Cup exhibition game put on at TCF Bank Stadium this summer.

Bagley said the game sold 34,000 tickets and helped the team map out soccer's fan base in Minnesota. He said the team may also look at bringing that exhibition match back to Minneapolis.

The Vikings are one of two potential candidates for a Major League Soccer franchise. The owner of the existing minor league team in Minnesota, former UnitedHealth CEO Bill McGuire, is also reportedly weighing options for an MLS team.