Vikings open preseason, begin two-year TCF Bank Stadium stay

  • Article by: MATT VENSEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 8, 2014 - 1:55 PM

An upgraded TCF Bank Stadium will debut a new look for the Vikings.

The Mike Zimmer era unofficially begins Friday night when the Vikings trickle out of the tunnel at TCF Bank Stadium. Their preseason opener also kicks off a two-year stint at their new temporary home.

Officials from the Vikings and the University of Minnesota have been preparing for this moment for two years, even before reaching an official agreement last May. For the most part, TCF will look like the facility Gophers fans are used to seeing every Saturday. But the Vikings have taken strides to make the stadium feel like home on Sundays in addition to making $6.6 million worth of upgrades.

“We’ve been in constant contact with both the university and the NFL over the past two years to make this transition as smooth as possible,” said Jeff Anderson, Vikings executive director of communications. “It’s been an incredible effort and extremely collaborative, especially over the last eight months. It’s a strong partnership and we expect that to continue over the next two years.”

The costliest change was the installation of a hydronic heating system under the field and the purchase of a new FieldTurf playing surface, which cost the Vikings approximately $2.5 million. The Vikings — who watched former quarterback Brett Favre suffer a concussion in his final game after a hard tackle to the frozen turf when they were forced to play at TCF in December 2010 — pushed to make that change.

“As an organization, it’s always our focus to keep our player as safe as possible,” Anderson said.

Additional upgrades, not all of which will be noticed by the fans, include increased storage space for team equipment and gameday needs, winterizing the concourse restrooms, installing needed technology for NFL replay reviews, adding heaters to the loge boxes on the fourth floor of the stadium, and putting in 1,720 bleacher seats in the west end zone, bringing the stadium’s capacity to 52,525.

The Vikings also will pay the University of Minnesota $6 million in rent over the next two seasons.

Aesthetically speaking, the team’s Norseman logo will be painted at midfield before every Vikings home game and the end zones will be purple with “Minnesota” painted in the university’s block text. The Vikings also will utilize video boards and permanent banners to make TCF feel more like home, though they can’t do anything about all those maroon seats beyond keeping their purple-clad fans in them.

“We want to make it as much of a home environment as possible,” Anderson said.

An upgrade

The team is confident that the changes they have made — along with more points of entry to the stadium, the addition of more food and beverage kiosks in the concourse and the gameday closure of Oak Street outside the west end of the stadium to create a family-friendly hangout — will give fans a better experience than the Metrodome.

“Generally speaking, this is going to be a much better fan experience than what our fans were accustomed to at Mall of America Field,” Anderson said. “You’re going to have a more intimate setting, tremendous sightlines, state-of-the-art video boards, nearly twice as many restrooms and a variety of food and beverage options.”

The team’s football operations and coaching staff have been preparing for this move for a while, too. Zimmer has taken multiple trips to the team’s temporary home, though he did not take the whole team to TCF in anticipation for tonight’s game.

The Vikings did, however, send their special teams specialists — kicker Blair Walsh, punter Jeff Locke and long snapper Cullen Loeffler — there at times during the offseason, and they reported back to Zimmer and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer with detailed charts on wind patterns inside the stadium.

Picking sides

One decision Zimmer made based on his trips to TCF was to use the north sideline instead of the south one that the Gophers use. The reasoning was that the north sideline should be a bit warmer with the sun hitting it during frigid December or January home games, something the Gophers don’t have to worry about because their home schedule typically ends in November.

“We did a study on the wind. We did a study on the temperatures, things like that, which side is a little bit more conducive to the better conditions as opposed to the other side,” Zimmer explained.

Zimmer is aware that NFL teams typically have struggled while playing at interim home venues, but he spoke with his players this week about developing the mentality needed to buck that trend.

  • related content

  • Video: Here's how TCF Bank Stadium will look and feel for Vikings games

    Wednesday August 6, 2014

    With the first preseason game Friday, Vikings logos are already in place at the Gophers' stadium.

  • Your guide to getting to Friday's Vikings-Raiders game at U

    Thursday August 7, 2014

    Just as the Vikings will be auditioning new players during Friday night's preseason opener, the game against the Oakland Raiders will serve as a test run for fans trying to...

  • Video: Vikings Making the Cut: WR Erik Lora

    Thursday August 7, 2014

    Vikings undrafted free agent wide receiver Erik Lora is seeking to crack an NFL roster.

  • Hartman: Cassel can be leader Vikings need at quarterback

    Friday August 8, 2014

    The veteran has shown he can guide a productive offense in the past with the Patriots and Chiefs.

  • Vikings, Raiders rosters

    Thursday August 7, 2014

    Vikings RosterNo. Name Pos.2 Donte Foster WR3 Blair Walsh K5 Teddy Bridgewater QB7 Christian Ponder QB8 Andy Cruse WR11 Ty Walker WR12 Kamar Jorden WR13 Kain Colter WR14 Erik Lora WR15 Greg Jennings WR16 Matt Cassel QB17 Jarius Wright WR18 Jeff Locke P19 Adam Thielen WR20 Kurt Coleman S21 Josh Robinson CB22 Harrison Smith S23 Joe...

  • Gameday preview: Raiders at Vikings

    Thursday August 7, 2014

    Game 1: 7 p.m. today • TCF Bank StadiumTV: Ch. 11 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)about the vikingsMike Zimmer makes his head coaching...

  • TCF Bank Stadium changes

    Friday August 8, 2014

    Minnesota makeoverChanges at TCF Bank Stadium to make it ready for Vikings games:The field: The old turf was ripped up,...

  • Read the replay: Access Vikings Live Chat with Matt Vensel

    Monday September 9, 2013

    See what Star Tribune pro football writer Matt Vensel was talking about Thursday afternoon with Vikings fans during their noon-hour Live Chat.

  • The Vikings will be tenants at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium for the next two years while the NFL team’s new home is built on the old Metrodome site.

  • Mike Cofrin of Large Format Graphics Inc. adjusted a Vikings banner that hangs over the Gophers’ facade at TCF Bank Stadium.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle 0 Bottom 7th Inning
LA Angels 1
Texas 0 Top 7th Inning
Oakland 1
Philadelphia 5 Bottom 7th Inning
San Diego 1
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM


Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29




question of the day

Poll: Do you support Wednesday's decision to sideline Adrian Peterson again?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters