MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings-Green Bay Packers border battle always brings in a lot of fans for tailgating.
But this year, the Vikings are not allowing formal tailgating outside the stadium to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
There were empty seats and sidewalks Sunday, with only a few fans making their way U.S. Bank Stadium for the home opener. John and Matt Aldrich only came as part of their tradition to visit their family’s Legacy Brick.
“It’s kind of our motto. Every year, this is the year they’re going to do it. And it keeps you motivated. Just want to go check that out and be down here,” Matt Aldrich said.
Traditions also refused to be broken a few blocks from the stadium. WCCO came across a group of Vikings fans that have been tailgating together for the last 24 years, including fan Michael Savage.
“I can’t imagine a home game without these guys,” Savage said. “It is kind of funny that there’s nobody tailgating here except for us, and then the other group that’s from Green Bay. You know, it’s a nice little rivalry, a little ribbing here and there.”
Just on the other side of the border in Hudson, Wisconsin, you could still find plenty of Vikings fans, which made for very divided sports bars. Kate Cochran embodies the complicated feud.
“Born in Hudson, I was always a Packer fan, and I married a Viking fan. It’s been interesting,” Cochran said.
Vikings fan Chris Petros is excited football is back, but feels the empty stadium seats played in the Packers favor.
“There’s no crowd noise, they got more of a team, we got a lot of rookies,” Petros said. “I think the fans would help the rookies get pumped up.”
While the season start isn’t ideal, fans for both teams are making the most of it.