Note: This venue has been closed and demolished. The Minnesota Vikings are playng in a temporary
venue, TCF Bank Field on the University of Minnesota campus, for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Being
an interim venue, this profile will remain in place until the permanent new stadium is opened in 2016.
The Metrodome is situated on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, and is almost adjacent to
the University of Minnesota campus directly across the Mississippi River. Opened in 1982,
it is the home of the NFL Vikings, the MLB Twins and the University of Minnesota Gophers
football team. This building replaced the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, an
outdoor venue which was razed and is now the site of the fabulous Mall of America. The
Metrodome has also been home to a number of marquee events, including an NCAA
basketball Final Four as well as Super Bowl XXVI (we Buffalo folks remember that one!). The
Metrodome will also host the Final Four in 2001.
The neighborhood surrounding the stadium is a mix of retail, office, warehouse, and open
surface lots with no predominant theme. Tailgating is either prohibited or discouraged, and
being a cold dismal weather day we saw none of it going on. We learned later that tailgating
is permitted "only in designated lots". The going rate for parking anywhere within two
blocks of the stadium is $25 and even $30!! $30.. to PARK, in Minneapolis folks! Yep, you
disciples keep calling your beloved Coach on his talk show and whining about the prices in
Buffalo.. again the Buffalo fan just doesn't have a clue.
Nothing to do with the stadium, but we have to mention a great shop we visited one block
north of the Metrodome across from Gate A.. it is called "Dome Souvenirs". Other than the
great merchandise selection, there was also a "free Twins Hall of Fame Museum" adjacent
to the store.. the store's crusty old owner actually moved with the team from DC to the Twin
Cities when his beloved Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.. he
had a great display of old Senators memorabilia, pictures of the old Met stadium and
mementos from their '65 World Series run and their '87 and '91 championships. There were
even pictures of the old Nicollet Stadium which housed the Minneapolis Millers. The place
is musty, cramped, really honky tonk, the owner is onsite serving sandwiches at a food bar,
and it is a MUST SEE for out of town folk!
The stadium itself has the design and feel of its peers like the RCA Dome in Indianapolis
and the Pontiac Silverdome. Ample landscaping and many very colorful signs and banners
augment what would otherwise be a very ordinary building.
Once inside, we walked through two narrow concourses, one serving each deck. Along the
ceilings are backlit panels with photographs of memorable Metrodome moments, and along
the walls are small plaques showcasing inductees in the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame.
Concessions feature only the standard ballpark dreck - although we saw people carrying
the $4.50 Jumbo Dog, which had to be at least 12 oz of meat... hey, why not? A viking builds
up a big appetite after a long day of pillaging and plundering!
With a little over 64,000 seats, the bowl is broken down into two decks.. and at the top of
the lower deck are suites encircling the building. There are no club seats or upscale
amenities anywhere in the stadium. There are also no team stores, restaurants or food
courts although there are many merchandise point of sale kiosks. At each end are small
video boards, and a one color LED dot matrix board at one end zone which also highlights
out of town scores and statistics.
Six retired names are hung in one corner of the balcony, and the entire field wall is ringed
with the team's division and conference titles.. like us here in Buffalo the ultimate prize still
eludes the Vikings.
The atmosphere in the building is just terrific... the team sells out all their games and has a
waiting list for season tickets. Of course having a winning season for 17 straight years
doesn't hurt. Everyone is dressed in their bright yellow and purple gear, helmets with
viking horns are in abundance. The intro has the team running through an inflated viking
ship, led by two mascots - big burly guys with long hair and scruffy beards and dressed in
animal pelts - the first "viking" is riding a harley and the second a snowmobile - only in
Minnesota! These mascots do a great job entertaining and jacking up the crowds along the
sidelines (sorry "Billy Buffalo" you really oughta just hang it up!). The Vikings also have a
great fight song "Skol - Vikings - Lets Go!" which they play after each score. Kind of like the
Bills "Shout" song, the fans eat it up.
The sound system in the building is just atrocious.. voice and music muffled and barely
distinguishable. Also, the lines to the mens and womens restrooms were appallingly long.
Probably the worst we have seen anywhere.
This is one great football experience, but mostly because of the great fans and the great
electricity in the building, and not because of the venue. The stadium is adequate, but in
this day and age of sports we can not imagine the team continuing indefinitely without
either a new facility or substantial renovations to this one. We do understand that there is
talk of a new stadium. An actual design for a spectacular domed facility to be built close to
the Metrodome has been developed, but at this time it is a ways away from happening.
SKOL VIKINGS! We had a great time at your place... but our day is not done.... it is back to
the hotel, time to throw on our Sabres gear and show off our Buffalo pride as we had over
to St. Paul for an evening of NHL hockey!
Food and team store 6
Scoreboard and electronics 3
Fan support 8.5
Location and neighborhood 6
Banners and history 8
In game entertainment 8
Concourses/fan comfort 3
Bonus: Tailgate scene 1.5, Dome Souvenirs 1, Dome Dogs 1, Skol Vikings theme song 1, Viking
Hubert H. Humphrey