Above: The surface parking lot at Chicago Ave and 3rd Street (Glen Stubbe)

The Minnesota Vikings see a branding problem with the street next to the new $1.1 billion downtown football stadium -- and they intend to fix it.

The street is Chicago Avenue, named in the 19th century after what is still one of the nation's largest cities. It also happens to be the home of the Chicago Bears, a football team.

"The Minnesota Vikings strongly object to having the street running in front of the stadium named after one of its opponents and neighboring rival," the Vikings said in a formal request to rename a segment of the street Vikings Way -- released yesterday.

The name change, first reported by the Star Tribune's Kristen Painter last month, will go before the city Planning Commission on March 14.

The street segment in front of the stadium technically has two names: Kirby Puckett Place and Chicago Avenue. The former is a commemorative name, remescient of the Twins' Metrodome days. The Vikings would like to change them both to Vikings Way.

The team noted in its application that the city renamed a portion of 3rd Avenue North "Twins Way" when Target Field opened in 2010.

Staffers recommended approving the change. They found it met the city’s rules regarding street renaming, which include streets being generally “named after people, places, events and things related to the City and citizens of Minneapolis.”

“The Minnesota Vikings are a long term, iconic business and will be located at the new stadium location,” the team said in its application. “The Minnesota Vikings played for 32 years at the Metrodome and the new stadium is being built to last for several generations.”


Eric Roper • 612-673-1732