Troy Ramaker bought Vikings season tickets six years ago hoping that some day he'd have a seat in a sparkling new NFL stadium.
So when the 32-year-old forklift operator from Austin, Minn., got wind this week that the five architectural firms bidding to design the team's nearly billion-dollar stadium in downtown Minneapolis were showing off their portfolios at the Metrodome, he pulled on his favorite Randy Moss jersey, grabbed his wife, Joann, and 18-month-old son, Carter, and drove 100 miles north.
"I couldn't wait," Ramaker said as he studied the photographs, slide shows and résumés displayed Thursday. "We're just so excited. We've just really been waiting for this for all these years, and now it's finally about to happen."
Ramaker was one of about 150 people who turned out to inspect the résumés of the firms bidding for the $30 million to $50 million job.
While photos, renderings and models of past projects were on display during the open house, no drawings or plans for the new multipurpose stadium were made public.
Ted Mondale, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which is working with the Vikings to oversee the project, said all renderings and plans will probably be presented when a winner is selected, perhaps as early as the authority's Sept. 14 meeting.
"Any of these five firms can get the job done," Mondale said. "But our priority right now is to make the right decision, not a fast decision."
Architects competing for the work are:
• HKS Inc. of Dallas, which designed NFL stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts.
• Ewing Cole, a Philadelphia-based firm that drew plans for the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium, home for the New York Jets and Giants.
• HNTB Corp. of Kansas City, architect for the $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., being built for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
• AECOM, a Los Angeles firm that designed a 67,000-seat home for the Seattle Seahawks.
• Populous, a Kansas-City based architect that designed the Twins' Target Field, Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and TCF Bank Stadium, home of the University of Minnesota football team.
Officials from each firm delivered a short presentation on Thursday outlining their credentials and qualifications before fielding questions.
Fans were encouraged to make suggestions for the new stadium.
David Gunderson, 49, a longtime fan from Brooklyn Park, said he wants to see more restrooms, wider concourses and wider seats.
He also hopes the designer makes use of local materials, much like the Twins did in using limestone for the facade of Target Field.
"I like all five," Gunderson said of the applicants. "And I like the fact that they have all been doing it for many years."
Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425