Vikings and US Bank Stadium gear up for biggest indoor crowd in state since December 2019


Back when the Vikings were playing outdoors in the old Met Stadium in Bloomington and the afternoon sun was starting to creep in, the first four floors known as the Purple People Eaters would start a slow cast. and slow to Odin, the Norse god of war.

According to the team’s lore, the temperature on the pitch drops to double digits as the sun goes down, hitting opponents with a deep cold and an unsettling sense of the supernatural powers of the Vikings’ defensive line.

In their first game at US Bank Stadium to a full house since December 2019, the Vikings will talk about the power of their past on Sunday when retired All-Pro defensive end Jim Marshall tells Odin’s story on a TV show. pre-match designed to provoke a skol chevroning by a crowd close to the estimated capacity of around 67,000 people.

After last year’s weird and depressing home games with empty purple seats due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Vikings are welcoming fans in a way team staff compare to the stadium’s grand opening in 2016.

“What an NFL football game really is is the camaraderie, the energy, the roar of the crowd, and that’s what we can’t wait to hear again,” said Greg Bostrom , director of entertainment for the Vikings.

Sunday will mark 636 days since US Bank Stadium was last near full capacity for a game against the Chicago Bears in late 2019. The pandemic has mostly shut the stadium down for all of 2020, and although the Vikings had two preseason home games in August, with around a third of the seats empty.

The state’s COVID restrictions are now gone and the Vikings do not require proof of vaccines or negative tests to enter the stadium on Sunday. But the situation “remains fluid” for the next games, said team general manager Andrew Miller. Vaccination clinics outside the stadium are scheduled for the home games on October 3 and 10.

For Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings “strongly encourage” fans to wear masks inside the stadium but will not enforce compliance, Miller said.

An indoor arena with an outdoor feel, US Bank Stadium features a state-of-the-art air purification system that was installed in 2019. The AtmosAir Solutions Bipolar Ionization Purification System operates throughout the building to break down bacteria, molds and viruses.

Fifty-six units in the building treat air, including 30 that treat 50,000 cubic feet of air per minute in the stadium’s lower bowl, according to Curtis Schmillen, director of stadium operations at ASM Global.

“It’s just another tool along with all the other things we try to do to keep people safe,” Schmillen said.

As for the fans, they seem ready to come back. The Vikings reported a 99% subscription renewal rate among their fan base. But Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz said fans should remember that transmission of COVID occurs during rallies, that “large gatherings are riskier than small gatherings” and that activities that were risky before vaccination remain so afterwards, although less.

Schultz urged a diaper prevention approach for fans – vaccination, masking and social distancing both inside and out. To limit the spread, the health ministry is encouraging testing three to five days after attending a large rally.

There were also changes to US Bank Stadium in terms of dining options, which were rolled out and sampled Thursday by reporters and staff. The Vikings’ collaboration with celebrity local chef Andrew Zimmern is over while Rusty Taco is in it, along with Philadelphia-based Chickie’s & Pete’s, known for their crab fries, cheese steaks and chicken.

Local food stars Revival and Nashville Coop will be selling fried chicken at the stadium, and Parlor burgers will be available at the Polaris Club and outside the stadium.

The stands of the permanent concessions will focus on four groups: pizza, burgers, nachos / tacos and cheese curds-chickens. Fans across the stadium will have full access to all the options, and they’ll also have three new Mashgin self-checkout areas to select and pay for items themselves.

Best wishes for the season

Sunday’s home opener starts at 3:25 p.m., but the stadium gates will open at 1:25 p.m., and the team is encouraging fans to get there even earlier. The number of waiting points around US Bank Stadium has fallen to just 242 this year, but there are other options for pre-game activities, including a free concert in the Commons Park, starting with the Pork Tornadoes at 11:30 a.m. and headliner Dustin Lynch at 1:00 p.m. Park gates open at 10:00 a.m.

The Vikings want fans to be seated no later than 3 p.m. for the pre-game show featuring Marshall and the story of Odin. The team has put together a new intro called Showtime, and there will be more nods to the team’s history and lore.

Local musician Tommy Barbarella, a keyboardist who played for years with Prince in the New Power Generation, composed “Symphony of the North” for Showtime’s intro. Barbarella describes the composition as a “big emotional arc” with “all the stuff”.

The symphony was recorded by the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by conductor Osmo Vänskä, and connects Sunday to the stadium’s first football game in 2016, when the orchestra performed at halftime for a performance arranged by Barbarella from Prince’s “Purple Rain”.

Vänskä said the arrangement showcased the energy of the orchestra and was performed with “best wishes that the Vikings have a great season.”

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

Twitter: @rochelleolson

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