For more than 30 years the Minnesota Vikings called a domed stadium their home, and it was a spectacular place to both see and watch a professional football game. The atmosphere was electric and it was loud. As one can imagine, however, recent years really began to show the facilities age, coupled with portions of the roof actually collapsing under the weight of a snowstorm a few years ago. All of this was taking place while the new US Bank Stadium is being build, but it could not come soon enough. While the new home for the Vikings should be ready for the 2016 season. The team will be playing its home games at its temporary home on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in the meantime. As far as college venues go, TCF Bank Stadium is new and it is modern, and it makes for an acceptable place on Sundays to watch the NFL.
Graphic via gopherhole
The new home of the Gophers, and now the Vikings, opened in 2009. It seats just over 52,000 fans in a stadium that is designed in a horseshoe style, and it can be expanded in the future to accommodate until to 80,000 total people. It is currently the stadium with the lowest seating capacity in the entire NFL, but that the Vikings are scheduled to move into their new home in only one more year. The stadium itself is located on the northeast side of the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, and is near to the former Memorial Stadium, and directly across from the Williams Arena basketball venue. For the NFL fan desiring a unique experience, this would certainly be the year to attend a Vikings game, as the experience of being right in the middle of a college campus for a weekend can bring back memories to many.
TCF Stadium has an intimate and cozy feel to it. One feature unique to it would be of benefit to the players themselves, as it has the largest home dressing room anywhere in either the NFL or Collegiate level. The overall atmosphere at Vikings games in this stadium is lacking a bit. This could be partly due to the lower capacity, and partly due to fans getting used to being in an outdoor field for the first time in over 30 years. Because the field and the stands are so close together, game time activities are actually limited. This includes the mascot and the cheerleaders being limited in the what they can do during a game, so it is difficult to use the usual shenanigans required to get fans exciting if the game is less than spectacular on any given Sunday. It seems that about everyone is simply biding his or her time until the new stadium opens in 2016, so do not expect a fan experience similar to that found elsewhere in the NFL.
One benefit of the temporary home for the Vikings is the neighborhood. Being located smack dab in the middle of a college campus means that there are numerous eating and drinking establishments surrounding the stadium. The prices are affordable, and there is ample parking. It would be a great place to enjoy yourself either before or after the game, or both. In short, the Vikings have made the best of having to be housed in a temporary location and this season should prove a worthy addition to the campus of the University of Minnesota.
Graphic via gophersportsspaces