The turf on which the Minnesota Vikings will play is being laid down this week at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The final prep work was occurring Monday with the actual greenery expected to start going down Tuesday. The 132,000 square feet of turf will lie on an asphalt bed already in place. The fake grass will be covered for concerts and other non-sports events.
Vikings vice president Lester Bagley calls the turf "one of the last visible milestones" of construction. "This is the last brush stroke of the canvas that's going to deliver this beautiful stadium," he said.
When the turf is down, the interior should begin to look more like a Vikings facility. The team's Norseman mascot will be inlaid at the 50-yard line, complementing the purple seats throughout the building that is almost double the size of its predecessor on the same site. Both end zones will be purple and, like the Norseman logo, removable for other events.
Bagley said the laying of the turf will provide fans the first true sense of how close the seats are to the field. "First and foremost this is an NFL stadium," he said.
The turf is expected to be a much more advanced and durable product than the AstroTurf that went down when the Metrodome opened in 1982.
The Metrodome had a similar product to what is going into U.S. Bank Stadium, Bagley said. The dome's turf was replaced after the roof collapsed in December 2010 from heavy snow.
The designers have given assurances that the translucent polymer roof at U.S. Bank Stadium will never collapse. Because of the roof, however, real grass couldn't be used for the field.
The Vikings' new turf is the same as at three other NFL stadiums: MetLife, home to the New York Giants and Jets, the Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints, and Paul Brown, home to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Similarly, the Vikings practice on identical turf, the Speed Series-S5-M, at Winter Park in Eden Prairie. Several other NFL teams also practice on the same turf, which is manufactured by UBU Sports of Welland, Ontario.
The hash marks and sidelines on the field will be permanently white. The lines will be painted green for other sports, then washed clean.
The $1.1 billion facility will seat 66,200 and is expected to open for public tours in late July. Free tour tickets will eventually be available through Ticketmaster.
The first event at the stadium will be a soccer match Aug. 3, with Metallica and Luke Bryan concerts scheduled later in the month.
The Vikings play preseason games at the stadium with their first regular season home game on Sept. 18 against the Green Bay Packers.