US Bank Stadium – Minnesota Vikings
Skol Vikings !!!!!
In Norse mythology, Valhalla was known as the home of the Viking gods. Today Valhalla is known as US Bank Stadium, the striking new home of the Minnesota Vikings. It is built on the footprint of its predecessor, the Metrodome, but could not be more different in its design. The new stadium, which opened in 2016, is a soaring, cathedral-like building made of a carbon steel surface with surprisingly large amount of glass incorporated into it. While impressive on the outside, you truly appreciate it once you are inside. The skylights allow the field to be bathed in sunlight, even though the outside temps may be well below freezing. This also provides fans with a stunning view of the Minneapolis skyline, with its vast array of architectural styles.
The field is well below the ground level of the outside plaza, so you are first greeted with an overlook of the playing surface as you enter the stadium. The size and the openness are overwhelming, as is the purple color scheme used throughout the facility. Be sure to arrive early (gates open 2.5 hours before kickoff) as you will want to check out all this great facility has to offer!
Food & Beverage 4
Like any major stadium US Bank Stadium has concession stands that sell typical ballpark fare such as burgers ($11), hot dogs ($5.50), peanuts ($5), nachos ($12) and sodas (Pepsi brand – $5.50). Folks in the Twin Cities are very proud of their local cuisine and many stands at U S Bank have a local menu. They serve items such as brats ($7), curds and cakes… Blue Moon beer battered bacon cheese curds ($17) and pork chop on a stick ($12).
There is a large selection when it comes to beers. Domestic cans are $8.25, craft beers are $9.75 for draft and $10.25 for a can.
The Vikings and U S Bank have worked together to create a terrific atmosphere both inside and outside the stadium on game days. You will truly feel that you are amongst the Viking hordes when you first arrive at the stadium, as you will be greeted by a Viking ship with a full dragon masthead. This will lead you over to the fan plaza, the central gathering point for the Viking faithful. If the weather is raw, step in to the Viking Longhouse to get some warm food and some cold beverages. You will likely be surrounded by grown men in horned hats and their maidens all shades of purple attire. Before you head on over to the game, make sure you get a photo with the SKOL sign and the stadium as a backdrop. It makes for a great Instagram shot. The term “SKOL” means a salute or toast to an admired group or person. SKOL Vikings is something you will hear all day at a Vikings game.
Ironically, due to the stadium’s downtown location, tailgating in the true sense of the word does not exist at U S Stadium. You will need to be content with the fan plaza in front of the stadium, which is not a bad thing at all.
The neighborhood immediately outside US Bank Stadium is truly in a state of redevelopment at this point. There are two neighborhoods less than a mile from the stadium that offer a great deal more in the way of restaurants, lodging and entertainment. The first is the University District, which is one light rail stop away on the eastern side of the Mississippi River. This district is home to the University of Minnesota and offers great lodging at The Commons Hotel. You will also want to try a meal at Stub and Herbs, a longtime favorite of Twin City residents. The second neighborhood is the Warehouse District near Target Field. The old buildings have been converted into trendy restaurants like The Bachelor Farmer and boutique hotels such as Loews Minneapolis. The Warehouse District also adjoins Nicollet Mall, the city’s shopping and retail hub.
One last suggestion for your trip to the Twin Cities relates to the Viking heritage and mythology, but is located south of downtown in the suburb of Bloomington. This site was the first home of the Vikings when they joined the NFL. It was then known as Metropolitan Stadium… today you may know it better as the Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the country!
Viking fans can easily be compared to the 12th man phenomenon at Texas A&M. They play a major role in disrupting the visiting team’s play calling, while also encouraging their Viking warriors on to victory. Each game begins with the entire stadium chanting the Viking mantra of Skol, getting louder and louder with each repetition. They reach an ear shattering crescendo as the Vikings enter the field through the Viking Ship, which features a fire breathing dragon at its masthead.
Once the game gets underway the fans take their lead from one of many sources: 1) Viktor, the team mascot, 2) a cheer appearing on one of the massive videoboards or last, but not least 3) the blowing of the Gjallerhorn, a massive alpine-type horn mounted on top of the stadium. The horn is blown after Vikings first downs, touchdowns or when the team stops the visitors drive.
Speaking of noise, the US Bank Stadium does an admirable job in following in the footsteps of the Metrodome in creating a lot of it. While the record for Minnesota crowd noise is still held by the Metrodome at 118 decibels, the new stadium has already reached 114 decibels in its young life (maybe they are afraid they will shatter the glass roof?)
One other comment that must be made about Vikings fans. They wear the most elaborate costumes to NFL games this side of Halloween. Make sure you protect your eyes from the horned helmets, and don’t pull on the braids of a fair Viking maiden… or it will be off with your head!
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 found along the highways, major cross streets and on all busses and trains.
US Bank Stadium is easily reached by car, bus, train or even on foot! (more on that in a minute) The stadium is surrounded by parking lots with spaces for more than 20,000 cars. The public transit options are excellent for getting you to a Vikings games quickly and cheaply. MetroTransit has 20 bus routes, two light rail lines and a suburban express route that brings you directly to the venue. Remember I mentioned walking to the stadium? Even on the most bitter cold days, you can usually reach the stadium from most anywhere in downtown Minneapolis without going outside. This is due to the extensive skybridge system that connects almost every major building throughout the downtown area.
Once you are inside U.S. Bank Stadium there are some accessibility issues to deal with. The main issues are the narrow concourses that surround the field. Due to several tight turns in the building design, gridlock occurs, especially during the last few minutes before the game starts or at halftime. The second issue is the steepness of the stairs, especially in the upper level. Make sure you take care of your needs before going up to your seat, as you are unlikely to want to make the climb twice!
Return on Investment 3
One of the reasons the Vikings no longer rule large segments of the world is that it was too expensive. The same can be said for fans attending a game at US Bank Stadium. Tickets average $315, the fourth highest in the NFL (even the cheap seats in the upper decks are $90 or more) Parking at one of the lots near the stadium averages $45 and we have already talked about the concession prices. You will have a great time at this magnificent stadium, but expect to pay top dollar for the experience.
One way to save a lot of money on game day or an entire weekend is to buy a Weekend Pass on MetroTransit. It costs $4.00 and is good from Friday night until midnight on Sunday. It offers an unlimited number of rides, so you can visit St. Paul, the Mall of America or anything else in the Twin Cities on the same ticket. It is a deal that is hard to beat.
U.S. Bank Stadium will be hosting several major events in the next few years, including the Summer X Games (2018), Super Bowl LII (2018) and the NCAA Final Four (2019)
To avoid one of the pitfalls of its predecessor, U.S. Bank Stadium features slanted rooflines and 60% of its’ exterior is coated with a material designed to promote snow melt.
All Public buildings in Minnesota are required to set aside a certain percentage of their space for public art. The stadium greatly surpasses that requirement and includes artwork by former Vikings coach Bud Grant and former players Matt Blair, Carl Eller and Jim Marshall.
In addition to football games the stadium has also hosted soccer matches, AMA Motocross events, University of Minnesota baseball games and several trade shows. Amongst the musical artists who have had concerts at the venue are Luke Bryan, Metallica, Guns N’Roses, Coldplay, U2 and Ed Sheeran. Minneapolis native Prince was scheduled to be the first concert in the facility, but died before the stadium opened.
The Viking Voyage exhibit space on the third level of the stadium features the history of the Vikings football franchise and offers interactive activities for the fans. There is no charge for making this voyage and it is well worth a visit.
Valhalla was the legendary home of the Viking gods. Today Valhalla is U S Bank Stadium, the striking new home of the Minnesota Vikings.
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Make no mistake, 21st century stadium design is hitting uncharted territories, and attendant costs which are staggering and possible unsustainable. Minneapolis pulled it off, but not without great pain and debate as to the cost. The brunt of that cost was picked up by taxpayers and patrons. How that will play out in other communities dealing with stadium issues will be interesting to follow. But in the meantime, it’s done in Minneapolis, and well worth the visit.