MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings will take on the Oakland Raiders in the first game of the 2014 season Friday night.
The preseason match-up will be played at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. The game marks the start of a two-year stay at “The Bank” while the Vikings new stadium is built downtown.
For fans, the new venue is an exciting change of pace.
“I was here at the only Vikings game, the snow game, and it’s going to be a great two years,” said Nick Spadaccini, a Vikings fan.
Modifications have taken place over the last eight months, but planning to bring a professional football team into a college stadium goes back two years.
“This is a tremendous outdoor venue for football, so it wasn’t a matter of this wasn’t up to par, but there were modifications that needed to be made,” said Jeff Anderson of the Minnesota Vikings.
The team made changes to the turf, adding a hydronic heated field to keep players safe during the winter months.
Off the field, the Vikings made room for more fans. Mall of America Field had a capacity for 64,000 visitors. The Bank sits 52,500 even with the addition of 1,700 extra seats in the south end zone.
But aside from seating, the Vikings new home also brings new amenities.
“Wider concourses, twice as many restrooms and all those things,” Anderson said. “It’s a much more intimate environment for our fans to watch football.”
Most importantly, the team will return to its roots, playing outdoor football for the first time in over three decades.
“This is a much better game day experience versus what they were accustomed to at Mall of America Field,” Anderson said.
The new stadium in downtown is scheduled to open for the 2016 season.
Parking is limited around TCF Bank Stadium. The team is encouraging fans to plan ahead and take the Green Line train which will drop game-goers right next to the field.
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