Minneapolis, Vikings on board for pregame 'railgating'

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 19, 2012 - 6:11 AM

Twins fan Jon Engel (in red cap) held on tight as the lightrail packed with Twins and Vikings fans, including eight-year-old Alex Woolsey wearing Vikings horns, on the way to downtown Minneapolis

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It's official -- the first-ever downtown Minneapolis "railgating" party is on.

City officials and representatives of the Minnesota Vikings signed off Tuesday on a plan to allow more than a dozen food vendors to set up shop along a two-block stretch of the Hiawatha light-rail line Sunday in hopes of luring more fans -- especially those commuting by rail -- downtown before the team's noon kickoff with the San Francisco 49ers at the Metrodome.

The experiment, dubbed railgating, is designed to "add more sizzle" to pre- and postgame festivities, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Tuesday.

"We're encouraging people to come downtown and be part of the street life and come in and watch the game or have fun in a bar and restaurant instead of watching it in their living room," he said.

More details of the plan will be discussed at a 9 a.m. Wednesday briefing on 5th Street, across from the Minneapolis Armory.

The railgating idea is part of a broader vision by Rybak and city officials to provide fans with an alternative to more traditional tailgating, and generate more game-day traffic and activity in advance of the opening of a new downtown stadium in 2016.

The $975 million stadium will be built on and near the Metrodome site, which is set in one of the most urban settings in the NFL. Because of its location, the site -- compared with other NFL venues -- provides relatively few parking spaces where fans can grill, party and toss a football before and after games.

Rybak said he hopes the city and downtown restaurateurs can eventually turn Fifth Street -- from the Warehouse District on the west side east to the Metrodome -- into a "Purple Path," where fans gather at food and beverage trucks and celebrate at the nearby Armory or a public plaza before and after games.

"The top point here is we want to paint the town purple," Rybak said. "We want people to come to the game but spend time here before and after."

"It makes a lot of sense," said Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president. "It's a little bit of an experiment and we'll see how it shakes out. But anything that enhances the game-day experience and brings more people down to the stadium early is a good thing."

For Sunday's game, the city will close a single lane of traffic along two blocks of 5th Street running from Park to 5th avenues, just west of the Metrodome. Food trucks will set up in the street between the light-rail line and the sidewalk, blocking off the rail line, which will continue to operate.

Vendors will set up at 7 a.m. and stay open to 1 p.m., an hour past the opening kickoff.

Initial plans for a beer vendor peddling Minneapolis brews fell through, but Rybak said that idea may be revived.

City officials also plan to open up some curbside parking Sunday for more traditional tailgating by fans who drive to the game. Rybak said the idea is to pull tailgaters out of the more residential Mill District and Elliott Park neighborhood and into downtown, where "you can be loud and have fun in the office core."

The railgating idea is the first of several the city plans to initiate and fine-tune in advance of the opening of the new stadium.

"We're going to take it one week at a time," Rybak said.

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 7:00 PM
Indiana 7:00 PM
Utah 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Portland 8:00 PM
Phoenix 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Golden State
San Jose 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Toronto 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:30 PM
Arizona 7:00 PM
Carolina 7:00 PM
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Vancouver 7:30 PM
Florida 8:00 PM
Tampa Bay 8:00 PM
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question