L.A. gets a more serious suitor?

While Vikings fans fret over a Los Angeles market looking for an NFL team, the San Diego Chargers might have taken the lead with the hiring of a Los Angeles-based marketing firm.

One of the rumors circulating at Super Bowl XLIII is something that could have a big impact on Vikings fans. The San Diego Chargers have been rumored as being bound for Los Angeles and, despite hiring a L.A.-based marketing firm, the Chargers say they're going nowhere … for now.

The Chargers have an "out clause" that would permit them to leave San Diego that can be exercised any time between Feb. 1 and May 1. However, it would come with a price. If the team was to serve notice it was leaving after the 2009 season, the cost of the exit clause would be $56.2 million. That figure drops to $54.6 million next year and all the way down to $25.8 million in 2011.

While the Chargers front office has stated that there are no plans to bolt after next season, the fact remains that the team has hired the Los Angeles-based Wasserman Media Group to gauge the interest of moving the team to the country's second-largest media market. It is viewed by some as a leverage move against the City of San Diego to get off square one to get a deal completed, but, as in Minnesota, the recession has resulted in a huge state financial deficit that will make it difficult for San Diego to afford building a new stadium at a time of crisis.

Is the hiring of a marketing firm the first step in moving the Chargers to Los Angeles? Is it a legitimate sign that the L.A. market will get filled? Or is it simply a stare-down between the Chargers and the City of San Diego? Those questions are still up in the air. But, for Vikings fans, the potential of another team filling the one hot prospect on the NFL landscape is a positive sign. They would like to see Los Angeles filled by someone other than the Vikings.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • Although the team has denied that anything is finalized, several media reports indicate that Oakland has agreed to re-sign interim head coach Tom Cable as their permanent head coach. The dysfunctional Raiders have had a hard time getting legitimate candidates to even apply for the job, making it a difficult decision for any coach looking to advance his career to jeopardize it by working for the volatile Al Davis, who has fired coaches with regularity over the last decade.

  • The Jets have scheduled a meeting with Brett Favre next week to see if he wants to return to New York in 2009 or if the team is interested in bringing him back. Favre has been rumored to still be interested in playing for the Vikings.

  • Scott Linehan said the Lions will wait to name a starting QB for 2009, but Daunte Culpepper will be due a $2.5 million roster bonus in March, which means that a decision will likely have to come by then.

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