MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Vikings announced on Tuesday that their first two home games at U.S. Bank Stadium will be without fans.

“We’ve got great fans and we hope to get them back,” said Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. “But it is what is, so we’ll go out and we’ll play and get ready to go.”

So, how do teams decide if fans can attend games? Good Question.

“Given where COVID is, I think we all thing it’s best, unfortunately, to start the season without fans,” said Vikings COO Andrew Miller. “Our goal is to bring fans back when it’s safe.”

Over the past few months, the Vikings have had ongoing conversations with the City of Minneapolis, the state Health Department, U.S. Bank Stadium officials and the NFL.

“We’d like to see many lower cases, a lower test positivity rate and much lower rate of community transmission,” said MDH Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

According to the Associated Press, across the country, 14 NFL teams will have no fans at the start of the season, six will have no fans indefinitely or all season long, five have had no public discussions on the topic, five will have in-person fans in a limited capacity and two said they haven’t made a decision yet.

When asked if TCF Bank Stadium was an option, Miller said the Vikings want to play at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“We think it’s the best, one of the best stadiums in football, and that’s where we’re going to play our games,” Miller said.

The three-week break between the second and third home games will give the Vikings some time to decide on whether fans can attend games later in the season.

Miller said if that were to happen, the game experience would look very different.

“We would require masks for all fans and staff members,” he said.

He also said there would be lower capacity limits and social distancing requirements.

Malcolm also pointed out there would have to be discussions on how to safely enter and exit the stadium.

“As cases hopefully decrease in the coming weeks, we’ll be able to revisit those conversations,” Miller said.

Heather Brown