Field of Dreams: What we'd like to see in a new stadium

  • Article by: BILL WARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 28, 2012 - 3:14 PM

Stakeholders (that would be all of us) weigh in on amenities for the new Vikings stadium, from practical to pie-in-the-sky.

Photo: Eddie Thomas, Star Tribune

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The drawing board for a new Vikings stadium is still blank. But we're here to help.

We asked players and other team employees, the Purple faithful and experts who have never whooshed through the Metrodome's revolving doors what they would like to see in the new sporting palace.

If no expense were to be spared -- and at almost a billion dollars, that shouldn't be a problem -- the possibilities are limitless. Almost.

Some merely wanted a winning team or an accomplished quarterback who's not a pending AARP member. Others basically wanted the stadium, scheduled to open in 2016, to be the anti-Dome -- everything the team's home for the past three decades has not been.

That means non-claustrophobic concourses, luxury suites that actually live up to the name and way more food options.

The more imaginative dreamers wished for more: La-Z-Boys in the stands and cabana boys in the suites. And, of course, TVs in the bathrooms.

Basically, the local sporting public's most fervent desire was a stadium with all the amenities of the area's newer venues, Target Field and Xcel Center -- with a bit of Lambeau Field mixed in.

Ragnar

Team mascot

• "Easier access up into the stands. Look at Green Bay: Everything is low. Even I could do the 'Lambeau leap' at 51. God cheated me when it came to an inseam, and I don't need to be pulling my groin climbing up there."

• "Wider corridors, I mean holy moly, give us some space, I hate touching sweaty bodies. I'm sweaty enough as it is."

Joe Webb

Quarterback

• "HD scoreboards in the end zones. This helps when you are running away from guys and you can see who is coming up behind you."

Caleb McEwen

Artistic director at Brave New Workshop, whose current play is "Occupy Arden Hills; or, Brother Can You Spare a Dome?"

• "Land mines scattered throughout the field to give that added 'home field advantage.'"

• "Pop-up barriers to remedy blown pass protection."

• "A deer stand on the scoreboard where Bud Grant can watch over the games."

Peter Kramer

Architect

• "A portable, inflatable stadium would appease everyone who had a favorite among the suggested construction sites. Envision a giant garbage bag carried in a semi. We unload it, inflate it, play the game, then take it down, load it back on the truck and drive it away. I first suggested this in 1977 [when construction of the Metrodome was being debated], and I'm still offended that they didn't do it then."

Paul Allen

Play-by-play announcer

• "First and foremost, a winning team."

• "A broadcast booth on the 50 [yard line] big enough for friends and family members to take in the games, [with a] low-angle view like Soldier Field."

Chris Kohlmeier

General manager with Metrodome food vender Centerplate

• "At the Dome, with an air-supported roof, we only have two grill stands with hoods. In new stadiums we can put in convection ovens. And the beer system, we have individual walk-in coolers. The modern stadiums have keg rooms, 200 to 250 kegs in a single room and technology that allows us to pump the beer to the stands."

Kris Hanousek

Coordinator for some private suite events

• "Plenty of space for a nice bar and the ability to put some nice food and beverage spreads out there; don't have that right now. And personalized concierge service; now there's more of a check-in and check-out. Maybe cabana boys for the girls' events [laughs]."

• "Some kind of tie-in to celebrities; it's nice having past players and ownership show up. Maybe get on-field access once in a while, maybe have a lottery where two suites get access right before the game."

Paul Thielman

Longtime tailgater who generally doesn't go into the games:

• "TVs in the restrooms."

• "I would go back [into the games] if we were able to tailgate close to the stadium so my walk wouldn't be too long. Also would need more restrooms near the stadium since a lot of us are there early and might need to 'relieve' ourselves."

Steve Orfield

Sound expert

• "Instead of the huge cluster speakers, they should have more speakers closer to where the fans are sitting. That way, you can have all the sound staying in the stadium and not out into the neighborhood."

Rox Tarrant

Comedian

• "Put in a spot to get pedicures done. That way we can watch the paint dry while we're waiting for the Vikings to score a touchdown."

• "An escalator to take us right to our seats. No more climbing the bleacher seats in the sky."

Michael Kutscheid

Superfan

• "The seats should all be designed by La-Z-Boy with full reclining and massage options. And they should have trap doors below them. Fans in other-colored jerseys, if they get a little rowdy, can slide down into a wonderful purple 'man cave,' where they can watch the game without disturbing the Purple faithful."

Steve Anderly

Owner of Hubert's

• "I hope they incorporate as many local [food vendors] as possible. It gives the stadium a Minnesota feel and makes going to the game even more of an event. The Twins did it right."

Tom Tipton

He has sung the national anthem at the Metrodome and Target Field

• "All I want is the best sound system in the world. Too many [stadium systems] cut off the high and low ends of the register and just give you the middle. And get rid of the second-and-a-half delay [between the field mike and the speakers], because it can be very difficult to handle. With all the money they're going to end up spending, that shouldn't be that tough."

Chanhassen Dinner Theater Scene Shop Crew

Interested observers

• "We'd like to see the whole field be lowered 30 feet below grade and flooded with '20,000 Leagues' of water to accommodate Authentic Viking Sea Battle halftime shows (with charitable betting). In order to resume the game, include a system that can provide full drainage in 3.5 minutes."

Jeol Barker

Futurist

• "I'd like to see the rooftop be a dirigible so that the Vikings could lift up the stadium and fly it around the state to spread the wealth and the enjoyment. They could play a game in the Twin Cities, then one in Duluth, then one in Rochester and, if they were really in a good mood, one in Fargo for the North Dakotans."

Bill Ward • 612-673-7643

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