- Chuck Utech
US Bank Stadium – Minnesota Vikings
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
US Bank Stadium 401 Chicago Ave Minneapolis, MN 55415
Year Opened: 2016 Capacity: 66,655
A Vi”King” for a day
The impressive home of the Vikings debuted in 2016 and has already hosted a Super Bowl in 2018 and an NCAA Final Four in 2019. The facility is made of a carbon steel surface with a vast amount of glass incorporated into its design that allows for picturesque views of the Minneapolis skyline. For those who remember the days of the team playing at the cavernous Metrodome on these grounds, this is an improvement of a major magnitude.
The old bubble has been removed and in its place, a glass structure commanding respect and attention from above has been erected. A fan plaza and Viking ship greet visitors near the entrance from the outside and once inside, this structure shows its splendor in the form of over 66,000 seats and 1,200 HD televisions. The glass roof allows for spectacular views and allows sunlight into the building. Doors along the west side can be opened to allow for open air.
Gates open 90 minutes early. It would be wise to get in and truly see all that there is to offer from its design and aesthetics due to its massive size. The playing field is built into the ground and is a mixture of Viking horns, music, and stadium sounds combined with visions of open space, purple, lights, and the playing field.
Food & Beverage 4
US Bank Stadium offers plenty of choices of concessions on game day. Looking for the usual, there are hot dogs ($5.75), peanuts ($6), cheeseburgers ($9.25), and loaded nachos ($14.50) readily available. Pepsi products are the beverage of choice at $5.19 or for souvenir size at $8.39.Looking for something a little different? The stadium offers some great choices. Want seafood? Lobster can also be had in mac and cheese or try some crabfries for $9.49. Local favorites such as Johnsonville Bratwursts ($8) and cheese curds ($8.49/tray and $16.25 for a bucket) are in great supply. The selection is excellent for beer and mixed drinks. There is a robust variety of domestic and craft beers that start in the $9 range. Single mixed drinks begin at $12.
The fan plaza outside is abuzz hours prior to kickoff and due to the downtown stadium location there isn’t traditional tailgating like seen in large lots, but there are various parking lots throughout the area where serious tailgaters can still satisfy pregame urges. Inside, an hour before kickoff, feels like a feast with the masses getting ready to embark on the game.
Fans are decked out in purple as well as those who choose to go with gear in more of the Norse traditions. Outside there is a Viking ship; inside there are a plethora of cultural references such as the Viking horn and drum. “Skol ” is a salute or toast. This is something that will be heard from the fan plaza outside prior to kick-off and up until well after the game has ended. Overall there is a definite jovial camaraderie shared between fans and even rival fan bases
US Bank Stadium is not far from downtown Minneapolis, but it is a little secluded. Within a mile due west is the Target Center, Target Field, Nicollet Mall, and for Prince Fans–1st Avenue (nightclub). To the east, and on the other side of the Mississippi River, is the University of Minnesota.
Fine and casual dining, plenty of lodging, and regional shopping experiences can be found readily at both locations. Lobster rolls are a pride at many Minneapolis establishments. 1029Bar serves a classic. Across the street from the stadium is Erik the Red. This establishment is a party on game day. Another restaurant with many locations within the Twin Cities is Red Cow. They serve a wide variety of dishes including specialty burgers that are worth a try.
If one is looking for something just a little further, a trip to the area may not be complete without a venture to the Mall of America. The nation’s largest shopping mall is situated in Bloomington and on the site of the original Metropolitan Stadium. Levels of food, shopping and adventure await. What is even better is that the METRO Blue Line offers fast, quiet light-rail service between US Bank Stadium and Mall of America for about $5, along with all major stadiums and sites in the Twin Cities.
The Mill City Museum takes visitors on a trip through the history of the milling industry in the city as is located along the river at Mill City Park. The Foshay Museum and Observation Deck offer great views of the city for $10.
Viking fans are a feisty, loyal group and they have weathered play-off and Super Bowl heartbreak for over 50 years. They come out of the groves no matter how cold it is during the winter and are routinely (depending on the poll) in the top 10 of the loudest stadiums. In 2017, during the “Miracle,” decibels actually reached 120.1. They are boisterous. The “Skol” chant begins each game along with the Viking horn. The chant reaches a fever pitch.
The costumes adorned seriously rival the Raiders game as the most elaborate in the league. Some may be fans dressing like the Norse, whereas some are actually part of the group effort. The VWO (Viking World Order) is an inner circle of fans committed to the experience. It is a group with its own by-laws. The process to become a member can take months and concludes with a ceremony for new members. In addition, new members fulfill their pledge with a tattoo.
In speaking with a member of the VWO, they follow 5 sacred rules. These are: respect fellow members, respect other fans, respect other team’s fans, help mankind, and be honorable in their actions. This group has a commitment to leading the way and is conscious of their public face for the team.
It really shows in the fan experience. “Minnesota nice” is a way of life there. Fans may be rooting for their team, but they are genuine and tremendously knowledgeable about all facets of the event.
The Twin Cities is the largest metropolitan area between Chicago and Denver. There are major highways crisscrossing the entire metro area from Minneapolis to St. Paul. There is a bus, train, and impressive skywalk system between city buildings to aid in the arrival of the horde. Signs are plentiful and easy to read.
As one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Upper Midwest, the Twin Cities are served by an excellent highway system, well laid out street grids and an excellent public transit system. Signage guiding you to US Bank Stadium is can be found along the highways, major cross streets, and on all buses and trains. MetroTransit, the bus and light-rail line, offers a weekend pass for $4. This also can be used to connect to shopping and other parts of the cities.
Getting to the stadium is the relatively easy part. There are plenty of parking ramps and lots. Thousands of spaces are available and, as can be expected, the closer one wants to be the stadium will come at an increased cost. Many lots within blocks are around $40-$50.
Once inside, gridlock can ensue especially around the concourse corners. There are some accessibility issues within an hour of game time and at peak moments like the end of quarters and a half. The concourses seem plenty wide two hours prior to kickoff. The main level is a giant oval of sorts and those aforementioned corners get backed up with sometimes no semblance of which direction the flow is going. The views of the field are excellent. Like with a lot of venues though, there can be a few stairs separating one from their seat.
Return on Investment 3
The experience is legendary but it does come for a price. An average ticket right at the middle of NFL prices. The ticket prices one could expect to pay is at least $100 for an upper deck seat and more than $300 for lower or more preferable views. Depending on the budget, managing the experience is important. If priorities lean towards the game, seats, food, and drink can be given preference over parking or outside shopping.
Using the rail or bus then proves very economical. Parking on a ramp about a mile away is about $5. If one wants to do more of the tailgate and fan experience—then that can be balanced out with a good parking lot and fun events in the plaza or nearby local establishments. Or to truly plunder, one could just do it all in the spirit of the Vikings themselves.
US Bank Stadium is home to the Minnesota Vikings but is fully functional across multiple genres. The stadium has hosted concerts, college baseball, Summer X Games, the NCAA Final Four and the big one, Super Bowl LII, have all been hosted there.
Each stadium seat has a game program on it that includes many fun facts on the staff, stadium and of course the teams playing the game. It is a nice free souvenir and sometimes is joined by other swag like mini banners.
Inside the main concourse is a fan interactive area. Fans can test their knowledge or play a variety of games at no charge. There are also displays showing the commitment to the community and volunteer hours by the organization.
Regardless of where the Vikings find themselves in the standings, their boisterous supporters arrive early and stay late. The stadium is a magnificent centerpiece in Minneapolis. The two are a perfect pairing.