Feb. 15 is the deadline for the Vikings to officially request of the NFL permission to talk about potential relocation. Given the current stadium discussion and growing momentum toward getting a deal done either at or near the current Metrodome site, the Vikings likely are going to let the deadline come and go, but it remains one bargaining chip the Vikings have in their possession.
The Vikings will be playing their 2012 games in Minnesota, meaning no team relocation (Minnesota or otherwise) will take place this year. But the Feb. 15 deadline still remains in play. It doesn't mean that the Vikings will move if they seek permission from the league to make the request. It simply means it would give them the opportunity to officially enter into discussions with different cities about a possible relocation.
There is no question that, from a public relations standpoint, seeking permission from the NFL to open negotiations with other cities wouldn't be in the team's best interests. But at a time when the Vikings are effectively helpless to the political winds that are blowing through the State Legislature, it remains their one viable recourse.
In all likelihood, Wednesday will come and go without the Vikings seeking official permission to talk to representatives from Los Angeles or other interested cities trying to land an NFL team. It would be a "Hail Mary" type move that could backfire on them, so it's much more likely the team will let the deadline pass without making a request – hoping that a deal gets done with the state that will assure the team stays in Minnesota. But, at the same time, it remains an option – even if it is one not likely to get exercised.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.