The Minnesota Vikings now have a stadium nearly twice the size of the Metrodome, and the team hopes to have a game-day experience to match its new home. From colossal art pieces to a new watering hole, the team has a lot to offer football fans this season.
Vikings home gets a mead hall
Football fans with or without tickets have already had a chance to visit a new 800-capacity bar and concessions building in a Vikings Village area outside the $1.1-billion stadium. The Longhouse, an aluminum-frame structure with glass walls measuring 67 feet wide and 115 feet long, will welcome Vikings fans all season long thanks to its climate-controlled space, according to a release.
The team is encouraging fans to hang out before and after games this season by opening the Longhouse two-and-a-half hours before home games and keeping it open two hours after games. Outside the venue Vikings fans can also enjoy a stage with live music, a beer garden and interactive displays near the U.S. Bank Stadium light rail station.
“It’s really an extension of all the different hospitality spaces within U.S. Bank Stadium on non-Vikings game days,” said Dannon Hulskotter, the team’s vice president of marketing and fan engagement, in an August statement. “It’s not just a game-day asset. I think it’s going to be something that the [Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority] and [stadium operator] SMG will want to utilize.”
This season game-day activities are also spilling over onto the eastern half of the two-block Commons park adjacent to U.S. Bank Stadium. The grassy area, located between 4th and 5th streets and Portland and Park avenues, will feature family-friendly activities and will be alcohol-free. With the recent opening of the park’s more tranquil western block, the entire Commons park is now open to the public.
“I think for residents that have families, The Commons is a great option for them, even if they don’t have a ticket for the game,” Hulskotter said. “They can come and take part in those activities, and there’s going to be a certain level of excitement and atmosphere that the expanded fan-engagement area outside of U.S. Bank Stadium will bring.”
U.S. Bank Stadium gets poppin’
If you’ve been down Hennepin Avenue downtown recently you’ve likely already seen Greg Gossel’s mural work. At U.S Bank Stadium you’ll see even more.
The Minneapolis-based artist has a colossal, 85-foot-wide and 17-foot-high mural along the stadium’s main concourse level. Similar to a mural Gossel recently painted on a vacant building at Hennepin & 10th in downtown Minneapolis, the stadium mural is in his Pop Art-inspired style.
The piece, dubbed “The Vikings are Coming,” depicts two-dimensional football players nearly breaking through wall with a “SMAAASHH,” just like from a classic superhero comic book.
Gossel and several assistants painted the mural over the course of a few weeks this summer. He told The Journal that the project is one of the biggest in his career so far. It’s his first piece in a large-scale sports stadium, which presented a new level of scale and exposure, he added.
“I never thought I’d be doing it,” he said.
The mural is just one of a 300-piece collection of artwork done by dozens of artists — a majority of which are from Minnesota — inside U.S. Bank Stadium. The team hired California-based Sports & The Arts to curate the collection.
Joining the Vikings club
The stadium features six themed club areas with more than 8,000 seats for fans. The spaces may feature all-inclusive concessions, intimate seating, more strategic views of the field and private access.
The Medtronic Club, located between the 30-yard lines, is U.S. Bank Stadium’s most upscale club space with high-end finishes and 21 high-definition TVs. The 1,100-square-foot space has nearly 25,000 square feet of lounge space.
The first row of the 2,800-seat Hyundai Club is just 41 feet from the sideline.
Mystic Lake’s Club Purple features table service, three large bars and an outdoor balcony overlooking the downtown skyline, making it one of the stadium’s prime dining spaces. The 1,300-seat Delta Sky360 Club is located directly next to the team’s locker room so fans can watch players enter and exit the field. There’s also a patio behind the team’s bench. Finally, there are two 1,450-seat clubs, the Buffalo Wild Wings Club and FMP Club.
While club seats are currently sold out, interested fans can get on a wait list for future availability. And on non-game days the spaces are available for corporate events, weddings and meetings.