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Official Review by Blake Benzel, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Mall of America Field (still known as the Metrodome to nearly everyone in the state of Minnesota, or who has even driven by the Dome in the last decade) stands tall in the middle of downtown Minneapolis as a relic of the 1980's and 90's. Once a marvel of stadium engineering, the Dome is now a far cry of its former self and a fading memory in the wake of new stadiums to the Twin Cities (the Xcel Energy Center, Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium) and once steeped in the rich history of the success of the Minnesota Twins, it is now left with the unfailing mediocrity that the Minnesota Vikings have become.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food and beverage at Mall of America Field isn't flashy and, in some cases, it's overpriced, but at least you know what you're getting. You've got your standard stadium fare, with hot dogs, popcorn, nachos (complete with the marvelous synthetic cheese), as well as hamburgers, peanuts and pizza. If you want anything past the standard fare, though, you'll have to pay for it. The Dome has a number of specialty foods, from the "Vikings Pounder," which runs about $11 to a sandwich platter that is either BBQ beef or pork, which comes with chips and runs you about $7.
The selection of beer seems outdated, but is adequate nonetheless. You can get your normal domestic drafts for $7.25, which is what you would expect to spend at most big time sporting events, and you can get local drafts such as Leinenkugel's and Summit for $7.50. Again, what you would expect to spend. If you want bigger or better, you're looking at spending around $11 for either a souvenir cup or for a specialty draft which, at the Dome, is something like Blue Moon or Guinness.
The first thing you'll notice about Mall of America Field is that it's loud. I mean, really loud. Even when the stadium isn't completely full, it's buzzing. From the introductions all the way through to the end of the game, a game at Mall of America Field is an experience like no other. When the Vikings score, you know it. When the Vikings do something the fans don't like, you know it.
There's tailgating prior to the game, and those that don't want to pay for a tailgating ticket can head to the Party on the Plaza where you can get drinks, play games and even listen to live music.
From the mascot, Ragnar to the noise to the games, it's a tremendous experience that football fans everywhere will love.
Mall of America Field is in downtown Minneapolis, so the area surrounding the stadium isn't necessarily the greatest, but it's not the worst either. As far as pre-game and post-game places to frequent, there are certainly those.
Within walking distance of the Dome, there are a number of restaurants like Sawatdee, Kindee Thai and Wasabi Japanese if you're in the mood for Asian. Sarpino's Pizza or Old Spaghetti Factory if you're not in the mood for anything fancy or, if you're in a fancier mood, you could frequent Sanctuary Restaurant or hop in a cab or on the light rail and head up to the Warehouse District.
As I said, the neighborhood isn't the greatest, and it's definitely not someplace you'd want to be caught alone after dark if you can at all avoid it, but you can take solace in the fact that, by that time, most of the knuckleheads will be convening up at Block E, which is just a little more than a hop, skip and a jump away.
As with any Minnesota sports experience, you're going to get the "Minnesota Nice" aspect. You're going to get friendly fans that are more than willing to point you in the right direction, talk about the game or even just chat about the people you see at the arena. In short, they're really nice people.
While most view Minnesotans as a more reserved type, you can watch them let their hair down at the Vikings games. They know the game, they're engaged in the game and they're some of the most passionate fans in the NFL. In addition, if you're a visiting fan, you might get a little ribbing from the hometown fans, but you certainly shouldn't expect to get any beer "spilled" on you, which is always good.
You've got ample parking, the light rail and the bus system, all of which you can use to easily access the stadium. Close to the stadium, parking can be a bit expensive, but if you can or are willing to walk, you can cut down the costs quite a bit. Most local fans choose the light rail, which drops you off right outside the Party on the Plaza. The trek from the airport or the Mall of America, if you're staying outside of downtown, can take about 20 minutes.
Mall of America Field is slowly fading into the memory of Vikings fans as they look forward to a new stadium, but that doesn't mean that it's any less fun. Tickets range from $39 to $143 and you can expect to pay at least $20 more in food and such once you get there (and that's just for yourself). The facilities may not be the best, but you do get tremendous sightlines as well as fun experience if you choose to make a day of it. A little more bang for your buck once you get to the field wouldn't be a bad thing, though, as you spend a lot of money for not an impressive return.
The fans are great and the light rail will take you anywhere you want to go from the Warehouse District to the Mall of America to the airport if you really feel like you need to get away after the game. The staff at Mall of America Field are friendly and helpful and will always help point you to where you need to go.
**Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings
Member Review by sjc_lindsey on Apr 04, 2010
If a stadium had feelings, the Mall of America Field would be confused and suffering from an inferiority complex.
Confused as there is signage on the stadium that says Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome despite the fact the stadium is now officially named The Mall of America Field. While the Vikings are the only professional sports team to play in the dome, the home of the Minnesota Twins is etched into the building.
If things weren't bad enough for the poor Mall of America Field, it appears that its sole tenant is not very happy. The Minnesota Vikings are currently negotiating with several municipalities to secure a site for a new football stadium.
While Mall of America Field may feel uncertain about its long term future at least it can enjoy being the home of the NFC North Division Champion Minnesota Vikings and host to playoff football.
Member Review by paul on Jan 18, 2011
I have only been to the Metrodome for baseball. I had always heard what a terrible stadium it was, and I thought it was pretty good overall. There's no doubt that the upgrade to Target Field is good for the Twins. If I was a Vikings fan though, I'm not sure I would want to be outside for games post-Thanksgiving. A new stadium with a retractable roof (a la Lucas Oil) would be a good thing for Minnesota. More importantly, doing what needs to be done to keep the team from moving to LA...
Member Review by coryla03 on Feb 01, 2012
i went to my first nfl game last september to see my brothers team the buccaneers take on the vikings. during the game the atmosphere was amazing and very loud. i had a vikings bratwurst and a 20oz soda that costed about $15.00 combined. i was tempted to buy a vikings tub of popcorn for $10 bucks but decided against it. After the game the fans werent in the greatest of moods as their vikings lost after leading a 17-0 lead at halftime as a few fans taunted us as were decked out in bucs gear. All in all it was an amazing time and i cant wait to come back to minneapolis once the vikings new stadium opens in a couple years. fun times! oh yeah, being that mall of america field is right in the midst of downtown minneapolis well gameday traffic isnt very fun to say the least lol.
Member Review by firstname.lastname@example.org on Jan 24, 2013
The Mall of America is a decent stadium which is starting to show its age. The crowd is loud, the atmosphere is generally upbeat and there is plenty of tailgating or nearby bars to drink in before or after the game. The main negative issues in my opinion are the bathrooms and the food & beverage selection. If you need to go to the bathroom during the game there can be a big line as you wait for a spot at the trough to open up, this situation is made worse by the lack of signs, the line is often generated by the two cubicles at either end of a bathroom with people being unaware that you can actually skip that if you want a spot at the urinal, good hint, enter through the lesser line skipping everyone, ignore the initial outrage as people soon realise they are in the wrong line.
The drinks selection is pretty awful, you have a selection of the mass chain normal and light beers but nothing else.
The stadium itself is decent and the fans are great but you can tell that stadium management is waiting for the Metrodome to be put to sleep and a new shiny toy constructed in her place.
Member Review by ragnar81 on Apr 28, 2013
Anxious to get the new digs, this concrete monstrosity has outlived its time. If not for the fans, the atmospehere would be awful.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Nov 08, 2013
Not much to say as the Metrodome will be torn down after this season. It worked well as a football venue, with great fans, a lot of noise, and a second deck very close to the field. Transit is good and the neighborhood has a few bars too. It will be missed, especially when upper deck patrons in the new stadium realize they are about twice as far away.
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