The Vikings are optimistic that the Twin Cities will host an NFL draft by the end of the decade.
Executive vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley said Tuesday the Vikings have extended their expression of interest to the NFL two years, meaning they are now seeking to host the draft in any year from 2025-29. The 2022 draft will be held Thursday through Saturday in Las Vegas, with the 2023 event in Kansas City and the 2024 draft in Detroit.
“It’s going to be a few years down the road, but we’re optimistic that we’ll secure an NFL draft for our market,” Bagley said. “We’re bullish on the NFL draft coming to Minnesota, for sure. … It seems that it will occur.”
Previously, the Vikings had expressed their interest to the NFL through the 2027 draft.
If selected, Minnesota likely would host a draft between 2027-29. Bagley said the Vikings might not land the draft in 2025 or 2026 since Green Bay and Washington might be ahead of the Twin Cities in the pecking order because those cities haven’t been and won’t be candidates for Super Bowls and the NFL likes to spread events around.
Minnesota played host to Super Bowl LII in February 2018. Green Bay and Washington also were finalists for the 2024 draft before Detroit was selected last month.
Bagley said an NFL draft in the Twin Cities likely would be held in Minneapolis utilizing U.S. Bank Stadium, The Commons area, which is next to the stadium, the Mill District and the waterfront. It would be up to the NFL where to put the stage.
“We have a good plan, and we obviously have a great track record of hosting events,” Bagley said, making note of the Super Bowl, the 2019 Men’s Final Four and the Women’s Final Four earlier this month as recent big events in the Twin Cities. “The NFL knows we have the ability to put together a great event.”
Minnesota Sports and Events, which is working with the Vikings on a bid to land the draft, will send two representatives to Las Vegas this week to meet with NFL officials. Attending will be Wendy Blackshaw, president and chief executive officer, and Matt Meunier, bid and operations vice president.
“Even though it’s only 2022, we’re probably going every year just to make sure the NFL knows we are absolutely interested,” Blackshaw said.
Like Bagley, Blackshaw is optimistic the Twin Cities will land a draft. She said the most likely timeframe would be between 2027-29.
“It will probably be at the end of the decade, for sure,” she said.
Bagley also reiterated the Vikings’ interest in the Twin Cities hosting the scouting combine if the NFL chooses to move it around . The event has been Indianapolis since 1987, and likely will be there again in 2023. The Vikings have expressed an interest to the NFL in the combine coming to Minnesota between 2023-27.
VIKINGS TO LONDON?
A source concurred it is possible the Vikings will face the New Orleans Saints in 2022 in London. KSTP-TV and the The (New Orleans) Times Picayune previously reported that as a possibility.
The Saints will play one of three NFL games in London in 2022, and The Times-Picayune has reported the Vikings are the most likely foe as the road team in either Week 4 (Sunday, Oct. 2) or Week 5 (Sunday, Oct. 9). The NFL will announce details on all five of its 2022 international games on May 4, and the full schedule will be released on May 12.
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said that each day before Vikings officials begin their draft preparations, there is a “morning song” played. So what was a recent selection?
“I just texted (executive vice president of football operations) Rob (Brzezinski) and (head coach) Kevin (O’Connell) for the one today,” Adofo-Mensah said Tuesday morning. “Ours yesterday was ‘Grindin,’ by Clipse. Pusha T just came out with a new album, so I felt like bringing him in style.”
Pusha T. was half of the hip-hop duo Clipse, which first put out “Grindin” in 2002.