NFL L.A. Talk Heating Back Up

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue believes it will only be a matter of time before the league returns to Los Angeles, and the Vikings are still a major consideration.

Each year during the Super Bowl week, the commissioner of the NFL conducts his state of the league address. This year was no exception and, at his speech Friday night, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue brought up the real possibility of returning the NFL to Los Angeles.

Tags said the league is moving forward on getting ball back to L.A., but said expansion is not an option in the forseeable future because the NFL has expanded twice in the last five years and the realignment plan and schedule are in place for the rest of the decade.

That again leads the speculation back to relocation of a franchise to get the job done. Whether it was because he was speaking in San Diego or not, Tagliabue said moving the Chargers doesn't look like an option, since the city is promising money to renovate Qualcomm Stadium.

So, as the big game approaches later today, Vikings fans again have to ponder whether L.A. gets a team anytime soon if it will be one of the three candidates mentioned most often -- the Colts, the Cardinals or the Vikings.

* Former Viking Gary Zimmerman missed out on election to the Hall of Fame Saturday. Five new inductees were voted in -- RB Marcus Allen, DE Elvin Bethea, OL Joe DeLammiellure, WR James Lofton and coach Hank Stram.
* Vikings ticket revenues rose by almost $2 million this past season -- the team took in $35.5 million in ticket sales in 2002, as opposed to $33.7 million in 2001.
* As reported last week, Cincinnati made it official by hiring Alex Wood as its wide receivers coach.
* Believe in karma? Bet on the Raiders. In the last five years, the Vikings have played road games vs. the defending Super Bowl champions. This year they played the Patriots. In 2001, they played the Ravens. In 2000, they played the Rams. In 1999, they played the Broncos. Next year, the Vikings play a road game at Oakland. The Bucs are not on the 2003 schedule.

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