U.S. Bank Stadium’s temperature-controlled environment and the sun pouring through its glass roof will create a spring-like setting inside the building Sunday afternoon when the Vikings host Indianapolis.
The experience just outside the doors will be much different. The forecast Sunday calls for a high of 10 below and a low of 12 below with mostly sunny skies as of Thursday afternoon. Expect wind chills to make it feel much colder.
These frigid temperatures are forcing even the die-hard tailgaters to rethink their pregame plans.
“I’m still going to park in my spot, but it is way too cold out there to stand out there to eat and drink,” said Adam Houck, Vikings tailgater and season-ticket holder. “I would assume some people or a lot of people have the same plan as me. … But I guess if you drink enough, you get warm. Maybe that’s the plan.”
Houck and his wife Anne typically set up a table behind their car and barbecue. This week, they’ll take the light rail or skyways into the heart of downtown and find a restaurant to stay warm in.
Chris Corless won’t let the extreme cold spoil his pregame tailgating routine. He’ll plan on packing an extra propane tank to keep his tent warm and arrive at 6:30 a.m. as he usually does to set up a bar outside of the tent.
“We’ll be out there,” Corless said. “We’ve been out there in below-0 with really bad wind chills before. … We just manage to have fun doing it regardless of what the conditions are. There is a group [of us] that is always there.”
Corless has been tailgating for 15 years and never been deterred by the extreme cold. He tailgated during last season’s playoff game against Seattle at TCF Bank Stadium, the third-coldest game in NFL history at 6 below, and remembers toughing out the frigid temperatures before final game at the Metrodome.
“You’ll see the crazies that will be out there without any particular setups trying to grill food and drink in the parking lot and then there will be the people that will show up 20 minutes before the game and head right in,” Corless said. “You’ll be able to see it in the lots, too. There will be less people.”
The coldest game in NFL history was the “Ice Bowl,” the league’s title game between Green Bay and Dallas at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Eve in 1967. The temperature was -13 and wind chills hit -48. Though Sunday’s game in Minneapolis won’t be played outside, there is still time for the temperature outdoors to drop below the record -13.
Corless was optimistic Thursday when he noticed Sunday's high temperature improved a few degrees from previous forecasts he had seen. No matter what the temperatures rises or falls to, though, Cordless and his buddies will be among the first to arrive in the lots outside U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday.
“Your face kind of freezes and it gets hard to talk,” he said, “but you’re out there anyway.”