Up close with Vikings' stadium contractor Dave Mansell

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 26, 2014 - 9:33 AM
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Dave Mansell, the general superintendent of Mortenson, watched as the largest crane was being hauled into the construction site of the Vikings stadium on June 30.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune file

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Many of the videos on the Minnesota Vikings website are mostly marketeering about the team’s preparations and the suspense behind the cheerleader tryouts.

Go beyond those glossy bits, however, and fans can get inside the stadium construction site with a tour from the outsized personality who is Dave Mansell, Mortenson Construction’s guy in the dirt. Mansell oversees the placement of every beam, column and drop of concrete.

His commentary also punches up commercials that would otherwise be more trite statements from Vikings honchos touting the “fan experience” at the glass castle opening in the 2016 season.

Instead, somebody mercifully allowed Dave to be Dave. When he talks about what the stadium will look like, he says, “It’s not something you’re not going to miss.”

He explains how the shape is soaring. “We’re up to the upper con, the upper concourse,” Mansell said. The building will rise another 100 feet above that, he adds, before saying with the enthusiasm of a kid who gets the Lego pieces to fit, “What you’ve planned out on paper is now coming to reality and it’s actually coming together like you thought it would.”

In a not-to-be-missed video on the team’s website, Mansell gives owners Mark and Zygi Wilf a tour of the site, which gets viewers into the work in progress. The New Jersey brothers wear their pristine purple hard hats with Vikings horns and occasionally mutter a “wow.” Mansell is wearing sunglasses, scuffed white hard hat on backward, and speaking with his usual scratchy ebullience.

“That crane in its configuration weighs 3 million pounds with what we have right there,” he tells the brothers. He turns to Mark Wilf shooting film and says, “Are you actually video-ing?”

Mark Wilf tells Mansell, “Say whatever you want and it will probably be on Instagram later.”

Mansell smiles, “I’ll get myself in trouble.” Listen carefully to the recording and you can hear a bit of Mansell’s earthier language that wouldn’t make network TV.

 

rochelle.olson@startribune.com @rochelleolson

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