On June 11, 2011, in conjunction with the announcement that they were going forward with plans to build a Downtown LA NFL stadium, AEG announced that the list of potential tenants had been reduced. AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke spoke with representatives from the Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, and Jacksonville Jaguars. With the regular season drawing to a close, it's time to check in on how these teams performed and where they stand with their respective leases.
Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings finished last in the NFC North, going 3-13 including a home loss to the Bears this afternoon. It was misery for the fans at the Metrodome this year, with the Vikings going 1-7 at home. The only redeeming factor is they'll end up with a high draft pick, as Adrian Peterson can't carry the offense all on his own.
Lease status: After today's loss to the Bears, the Vikings VP of Public Affairs, Lester Bagley, reiterated that the Vikings' lease with the Metrodome ends Feb. 1st without new stadium legislation. This puts the crunch on a cash strapped Minnesota Legislature, who must see the next month as a make or break period of negotiations. The Metrodome has already lost the Minnesota Gophers and Minnesota Twins as clients.
San Diego Chargers: After having their own slim playoff hopes dashed last weekend in Detroit, the Chargers were able to dash the Raiders' slim playoff hopes this afternoon with a victory in Oakland. They finish at .500, but two straight seasons without playoffs has Norv Turner on the hot seat.
Lease Status: The current Charger lease has them in Qualcomm Stadium (nee Snapdragon) through 2020, with an option to terminate that lease every year in the time between Feb 1st and May 1st. The Chargers and the Vikings are the teams with the most flexibility and thus the teams most likely to be the focus of AEG's efforts.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders had an emotional season as the entire organization dealt with the death of Al Davis. The Raiders went on a three game losing streak just when Denver got hot, but still had a shot to take the division with a win over the Chargers. The Broncos lost three straight to end the season, but the Raiders couldn't get the one necessary win.
Lease Status: The Oakland Raiders' lease runs through 2013 so their inclusion is more of a contingency plan, if AEG can't get the Vikings or Chargers to play in the Coliseum for a year while Farmer's Field is built. However, this would also require the Davis family to sell, as AEG has stated they want to control the LA team.
St. Louis Rams: The Rams finished the season worse than the Vikings, and were a contender for the first pick in the draft until the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars today. With Sam Bradford at quarterback, the Rams are likely after a running back or a lineman in the draft anyhow.
Lease Status: The Rams are in one of the more complicated situations amongst the four true contenders. They also face a Feb 1st. deadline, but this is contingent on the team being presented a plan on how legislators plan to make the Edwards Dome a top tier facility. The Rams are allowed to break their lease if this deadline isn't met.
The Jacksonville Jaguars found a new owner, who has stated his commitment to making it work in Jacksonville. So they're as good as off the radar.