Vikes' reported desire to play at university in '11 questioned

Zygi Wilf, the owner of the Minnesota Vikings, has never been shy about hiding his affinity for football played outdoors.

But Bill Lester, the executive director of the Metropolitain Sports Facilities Commision, disputes a report by ESPN that Wilf and the Vikings are seeking a way to play their home games at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium next season.

The Vikings hosted the Chicago Bears there last Monday night, and damage and repairs are still being assessed at the Metrodome after a massive winter storm collapsed the roof. The Vikings have one year remaining on their lease at the Metrodome and are seeking a new home.

“There has been zero discussion of playing the 2011 season outside and zero discussion of not having the stadium ready for the 2011 season,” Lester said.

Per the ESPN report, Wilf is waiting for an assessment of the Metrodome situation before consulting with the league about moving to Golden Gophers’ campus for a season.

"The assessment is being done to assess damage to the remaining panels," Lester said. "Nine have to be replaced for sure, but this is to assess any further damage done to the panels. It's going to take a few weeks but it's only being done on the roof and whether or not further damage was done to the fabric."

“We have concerns about the safety of the facility going forward,” team spokesman Lester Bagley told the Star Tribune. “We'll deal with that after the game (last Monday against the Bears) as well as we'll deal with the financial and economic impacts of what happened."

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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