US Bank Stadium meets fans’ approval

Published 10:15 am Monday, September 19, 2016

By Chad Courrier

The Mankato Free Press

MANKATO — Game day began early for Bob Reed and Scott Nicolaus, as it did for many of the 66,000 fans who attended the Minnesota Vikings’ home opener Sunday.

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The two bought tickets months ago, intrigued by the matchup with rival Green Bay and eager to get a look at the new U.S. Bank Stadium. The difference between these two friends and most of the crowd was that the day began at their homes in suburban Dallas, making a real-life Planes, Trains & Automobiles sequel.

“Big Vikings fan, first regular-season home game, new stadium, division rivalry … once in a lifetime chance,” Reed said.

The Vikings made their regular-season debut at U.S. Bank Stadium, hosting the Green Bay Packers in a nationally televised game. That would normally be enough to get the fan base pumped up, but the opening of this venue pushed ticket prices in the secondary market up well over $1,000.

The new stadium has already hosted a soccer match, music concerts and preseason games, but this building, years in the making, was constructed for days like Sunday. Packed to capacity, and enhanced by cutting-edge acoustic design, the noise and intensity easily matched anything ever heard at Metrodome when the Vikings took the field. And the aesthetics were top of the chart.

“It’s phenomenal,” said Nicolaus, who watched from the upper deck in the corner of one end zone. “The sight lines are great. You feel like you’re right on top of the action.”

Walking up to the stadium, a few hours before kickoff, it was chaos as thousands of fans waited to enter the building. Familiar paths to the stadium no longer work, and the huge crowd in the plaza added to some frustration for those looking for signs to point them in the right direction.

Once inside, the atmosphere was calm for a few minutes before patrons rushed in, most getting their first look inside this impressive building. The number of selfies had to be in the hundreds of thousands.

The heat from the on-field fireworks could be felt near the top of the stadium, where at times you couldn’t hear anything but the public-address announcer.

There are several VIP lounges and suites for the heavy hitters, but even in Section 318, there is a nice view for the ticket-buyers, at least those without a fear of heights.