MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota Vikings game made national news this year, but not for what happened on the field.
Two oil pipeline protesters dangled from the rafters of U.S. Bank Stadium next to a massive banner on New Year’s Day. WCCO later learned they bought game tickets and smuggled their climbing gear past security.
WCCO is getting our first look at what else fans may have tried to slip into the stadium in the months before Minneapolis hosts the biggest sporting event of the year.
It has been less than a year since the billion-dollar stadium first opened its doors. Big events — from soccer to music stars to our Minnesota Vikings — have packed fans in ever since.
And now we know what security guards have kept out.
In the nine times the Vikings played at home, security netted a total of 43 knives. No guns were stopped at the stadium’s gates, but guards confiscated 20 of what are classified as “other weapons.”
A stadium spokesperson would only say that could mean mace or any other banned item that could be used to harm others.
But it seems fans attending events outside of football have had the hardest time following the rules. In the six big events the stadium hosted in 2016 — like concerts and soccer — security seized 52 knives and 74 other weapons at the gate.
They also stopped four guns from getting inside, which were later checked at the stadium’s gun locker.
All told, about 200 weapons were caught at the gates from August to January in 2016.
Monterrey Security provides protection for the stadium. There is also a partnership with Minneapolis police to provide perimeter security, and a certain number of off-duty cops work each event.
In the case of what happened in January, security systems were not set up to detect the ropes and gear protesters had hidden under their coats.
The Minneapolis City Council Public Safety Committee considered it a policy issue for the stadium to handle.
“I was just amazed that they could do that,” Minneapolis City Councilmember Blong Yang said. “These lessons that you learn, you know, make you better I think, and make you much more prepared for the next thing.”
That next thing will undoubtedly be Super Bowl 52 — and the one million visitors it will bring with it come February.
“The goal is to make it safe for everybody,” Yang said.
WCCO asked if that has happened in the nearly four months that have passed.
The stadium’s marketing and communications manager would only say they are constantly updating security and other building policy and procedures.