MLS: Minnesota Vikings wants the 24th franchise

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Gilf.

The MLS might be on a World Cup break, but that doesn’t mean the league’s front office is on vacation. There are reports that the league and Minnesota Vikings are discussing the possibility of bringing a franchise to the Twin Cities.

According to fansided.com’s Andrew Coppens, “Zygi Wilf is looking towards the league with the new stadium being built-in Minneapolis.”

Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said that the organization has been working with the league for a while.

“We’ve been working with the MLS at the leadership level for the last couple of years,” Bagley said. “Now that we’ve kind of turned the corner on major construction of the new stadium and we’ve secured the Super Bowl for our market, we’re now kind of turning our full attention to MLS.”

Twincities.com reports that Mark Wilf, Zygi’s younger brother, met with MLS leaders and visited two successful teams in the league

The Vikings organization is really pushing for a franchise and is aware that there are multiple competitors for the expansion team. “We are focused on our game plan,” Bagley said. “We are aware of other efforts and interest in the community, and we applaud those.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do… The window is closing, and there is some competition for the 24th spot — and this is our view, not that of the MLS — the opportunity is now and we want to move our effort forward.”

To prepare for the MLS, Minnesota will host the Guinness International Champions Cup in August. Manchester United and Olympiakos will battle August 2 in the TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

“We have two great European teams coming to town,” Bagley said. “We are working on that, to kind of get our feet wet.”

Bagley also believes that soccer is well represented in the Twin Cities. CBSMinnesota’s Susie Jones wrote, “Bagley said there are pockets of support for soccer in this community.”

The Wilfs hope that the new stadium will make them the front runner for the franchise. The 64-year-old Vikings principal owner will be looking to use some of his $1.3 billion to secure the league’s 24th and last franchise.

MLS currently has 19 franchises competing in the 2014 season. Next season, New York City FC – owned by Manchester City and New York Yankees ‒ and Orlando City SC will join the league. In 2017, Arthur Blank’s Atlanta team will compete in its first MLS season.

The 23rd franchise belongs to former LA Galaxy and Manchester United midfielder, David Beckham. The English legend paid the league $25 million to secure the expansion team.

However, Beckham and his partners haven’t been able to secure a location for a stadium.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, “We cannot go to Miami unless we have not just a viable, but a very, very strong downtown location for a city that will be provided with a Major League Soccer franchise that can privately finance a stadium.

“If you can’t find the right place to play, it would be suicide for us to go anywhere. And certainly down to Miami where we have failed once before.”

For more rumors, news and opinion, check out our Soccer page.