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A Vikings fan's guide to TCF Bank Stadium

Posted August 18, 2014

BY Marcus Fuller - TwinCities.com -

Starting with Friday night's exhibition opener against the Oakland Raiders, the Vikings are trading indoor games at the now-gone Metrodome for outdoor games at smaller, but so-much-nicer TCF Bank Stadium for the next two seasons.

Playing games outdoors and on the University of Minnesota campus will have its perks -- and challenges.

perks

The stadium has added $6.6 million in recent upgrades, including heating coils under the new turf, which will come in handy this winter. Remember Brett Favre's career-ending concussion in the Vikings' only previous game at TCF Bank Stadium, in 2010?

Fans will love the giant, 5,184-square-foot scoreboard, which is almost 10 times the size of the Metrodome's. And players get to hang out before and after games in what the Gophers say is the biggest locker room in all of football.

 

CHALLENGES

TCF Bank Stadium's biggest downside is limited parking and congested streets for those brave enough to drive to the stadium. That's why the team is encouraging fans to take the Green Line train, which drops you off right next to the field.

<font=4>Here are 10 things Vikings fans should know about their new home:

 

TICKETS

For Friday's game, ticket price options online range from $25 to $150. But make no mistake, the cost of admission has gone up. Forbes.com said recently the average ticket costs 27 percent more than last season, according to TiqIQ. Expect to see scalpers on every corner, so you can buy a ticket at the game. More ticket information here.

public transportation

The new Green Line is probably the easiest way to get to and from the game. You can purchase a day pass for $6 or a six-hour event pass for $4 on weekdays, $3.50 on weekends. Trains stop in front of the stadium every 10 to 15 minutes at the Stadium Village Station on 23rd Avenue on the south side of the stadium.

Fans can park in a downtown St. Paul ramp and hop the train from a downtown station. Off Kellogg Boulevard, the Union Depot maintains 750 parking spots in four lots. Fees vary. A less expensive option: St. Paul street meters are free on Sundays and after 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. More information about the Green Line here.

 

IF YOU'RE DRIVING

Fans can access lots on the east side of the stadium from Minnesota 280 and Interstate 94 via University Avenue. Access lots and ramps on the west side of the stadium from Interstate 35W via University Avenue.

Parking is available in season packages from $160 to $400. The university's East Bank lot $200 parking passes are sold out. The lot on the U's St. Paul campus has free fan shuttle rides to and from the stadium. Single-game parking is located at Fourth Street Ramp ($20), Oak Street Ramp ($20), East River Road Garage ($10) and Gortner Avenue Ramp ($20). State Fairgrounds Lot S108* ($20) won't open until after the State Fair. More information about parking here.

Tailgating is permitted only in designated surface parking lot areas around the stadium (Discovery Lot, Gateway Lot, Ski-U-Mah Lot, Victory Lot, Lots C33, C37, C55-56, C58-59, all on the East Bank; Lot C86 on the West Bank, and Lot S108 in St. Paul when the State Fair is not in session). Tailgating can begin six hours before game time but no earlier than 7 a.m. It ends four hours after game time or at midnight. More information about tailgating here.

 

FUN ZONE

On Friday, the Vikings are closing Oak Street by the stadium for fans to enjoy a "Fun Zone" three hours before kickoff, and alcohol will be available at a pregame party at the U's McNamara Alumni Center across the street.

"We're trying to make it as much of a home stadium as possible for us," Vikings executive director of communications Jeff Anderson said. "We certainly expect a much better fan experience than what our fans are accustomed to."

Tailgating is permitted only in designated surface parking lot areas around the stadium (Discovery Lot, Gateway Lot, Ski-U-Mah Lot, Victory Lot, Lots C33, C37, C55-56, C58-59, all on the East Bank; Lot C86 on the West Bank, and Lot S108 in St. Paul when the State Fair is not in session). Tailgating can begin six hours before game time but no earlier than 7 a.m. It ends four hours after game time or at midnight. More information about tailgating here.

 

FUN ZONE

On Friday, the Vikings are closing Oak Street by the stadium for fans to enjoy a "Fun Zone" three hours before kickoff, and alcohol will be available at a pregame party at the U's McNamara Alumni Center across the street.

"We're trying to make it as much of a home stadium as possible for us," Vikings executive director of communications Jeff Anderson said. "We certainly expect a much better fan experience than what our fans are accustomed to."

Beer sales will be allowed in TCF Bank Stadium on Vikings game days throughout the venue. Alcohol sales will cease after the third quarter.

 

SECURITY

Remember: NFL policy limits the size and type of bags allowed in the stadium. What is OK: Clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags that do not exceed 12 by 6 by 12 inches or 1-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc) and small 4.5-by-6.5-inch clutch bags, with or without a strap. Anything bigger will be turned away. All spectators will be checked by security as they enter the stadium. More information about the NFL's bag policy here.