Members of the Gophers football team led the Skol chant ahead of a Vikings game last year. ANTHONY SOUFFLE
 
Sure, it’s unusual that the Vikings are opening the season at home against the Packers. It has never happened before. But that, unfortunately,  is, not the only strange thing about the Vikings’ first game of the 2020 season.

 

What you won’t see Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium
  
• Fans. Limits on indoor gatherings remain in place in Minnesota because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the Vikings will not have spectators at their first two home games this season. Fans can purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves to place in the seats.
 
• Cheerleaders, flag runners, Viktor the Viking, or any musical performers on the field. TV reporters can’t be on the sidelines either. Vikings cheerleaders and the Skol Line will still perform at the stadium for a live-streamed pregame show.
 
• A big group at the coin toss. The NFL has asked that only one player to represent each team. The bench areas will also have fewer people milling about.
 
• Postgame handshakes and jersey exchanges. Teams are prohibited from postgame interactions within 6 feet of each other.
 

 • Sharing. Players can’t share water bottles, food, towels, Gatorade cups, etc.

 What you will see

• Masks. Coaches and sideline personnel are required to wear masks, gaiters or face shields. Referees will also wear masks. Players on the bench not regularly playing are “strongly encouraged” to wear masks.
 
• Tarps and signs covering the front rows of the stands
 

• The dragon ship

What you will hear

• The Skol chant? Maybe?
 
• A “murmur.” The NFL is providing each team curated audio and requiring it be played in stadiums at 70 decibels. Teams are allowed to play their own music and audio prompts and make PA announcements for down and distance, but the maximum decibel level is 75. Teams could face fines or suspensions for violating the audio policies. Sound engineers for NFL Films will also produce crowd noise for TV broadcasts that will be “dynamic and reactive to game situations,” according to a league memo.

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