MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At nearly twice the Metrodome’s footprint, U.S. Bank Stadium seems like a massive glacier on the downtown Minneapolis landscape.
And that is just how its architects intended.
Mortenson’s John Wood calls it a testament to Midwest workers.
“I marvel at it,” Wood said. “We had over 8,000 men and women from the Minnesota building trades that brought their best every day to this project.”
There are six club levels, each expansive and open. From Mystic Lake’s Club Purple — complete with outdoor patio — to the Delta 360 Club down on the field level.
One of the first things you are struck with, beyond the sheer size of the stadium, is the brightness, courtesy natural light. The plastic roof panels diffuse light and reduce shadows.
“The fact that we’ve created the first fixed-roof, virtually-outdoor stadium ever built is really, I think, one of those things that will continue to make this building unique,” said Bryan Truby of HKS Sports Architects.
The stadium is designed by HKS to bring the outdoors in; from the views of downtown to massive doors that swing wide open.
“But also when it’s an overcast day, or it’s raining or snowing, the fans are going to kind of feel the elements, and that’s part of the design,” said Lester Bagley, the Vikings’ executive vice president of public affairs and stadium development.
Hundreds of original artworks line the walls and corridors; from massive murals to iconic portraits of Vikings past.
The Nordic feel is everywhere. Planners of the 2018 Super Bowl say the stadium’s sophisticated design will complete the Minnesota story.
“To tell people things they don’t know about Minnesota, like the sophisticated marketplace, the arts, culture, the cuisine, the innovation that comes out of this state,” said Maureen Bausch, CEO of the 2018 Super Bowl Committee.
Vikings players are also excited about their new-and-improved home.
“We’ve had several Viking players come in, they’re curious about it, they’re anxious to see it,” Bagley said.
Step inside the Vikings locker room and you will see a state-of-the-art space with the latest in recuperation facilities.
There are two touchscreen monitors, where coaches can call up plays with their fingertips.
Antimicrobial lockers prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
“One of the key features is the Norseman. Instead of putting it on the floor where people would try to avoid it, we put it on the ceiling,” Bagley said.
So after Vikings players get ready in the locker room, it is really just a short walk out onto the field — and that walk will be a cool part for fans and players alike.
They go down a pathway through what is called the Delta Sky Club, which fans can be at pregame, during the game and postgame. Players walk right past the fans and out onto the field for pregame warmups.
“Our seats on the north sideline are six-inches closer than the Indianapolis Colts, so we’ve got the closest seats to the action in the NFL,” Bagley said.
The part of the stadium with most importance is, of course, the part they will have the most contact with: the turf.
It is actually the same surface as they have at their practice facility, and the same they had at TCF Bank Stadium and the Metrodome. That, of course, would be the updated Metrodome turf, not the concrete and carpet they played on in the 80s.
“They’re blown away by the facility,” Bagley said.
The Vikings first pre-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium is the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 28 against the San Diego Chargers.
Their first regular season game is the night of Sunday, Sept.18 against the Green Bay Packers.