The Vikings have a new home in 2016 -- it opens for football in Sunday's preseason game against the Chargers (1 ET, FOX) -- and when constructing U.S. Bank Stadium, the club spared no expense. Here are some of the coolest features the fans in Minnesota will get to experience this season and beyond. (Pictures courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)
60 percent of the roof is clear
Any stadium in Minnesota should have a roof to protect its teams from the harsh weather, but the Vikings did what they could to give it as much of an outdoor feel as possible. 60 percent of the roof is made of ETFE (ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene), which is intended to give fans an outdoor experience in a climate-controlled environment. So don't make fun of fans you see wearing sunglasses indoors, especially during the first month of the regular season.
One of the stadium's signature design features is the Legacy Gate, which is made up of five of the world's largest glass doors. They range from 75 to 95 feet tall, and each one extends 55 feet across while weighing 57,000 pounds.
1,300 Wi-Fi access points throughout the stadium
In this day and age of social media, fans absolutely hate it when they're at a stadium or arena and can't get on their cell phones to share what's going on. The Vikings attempted to address this by placing a ton of Wi-Fi access points throughout the venue, and they put them right in the handrails next to the seats to be as close to the fans as possible.
The Legacy Ship
The Legacy Ship is a 160-foot long sculptural landmark that sits as an anchor at one end of the stadium. A 2,000 square-foot curved LED video board standing 55 feet tall serves as the ship's sail and the stadium marquee. Inspired by legendary Viking ships, the Legacy Ship is constructed of contemporary metals, stone, concrete and wood and features landscaping, theatrical lighting, sounds and smoke effects. More than 14,000 fans purchased personally engraved commemorative Legacy Bricks, which will make up approximately 3,500 square feet of the ship’s deck.
Turf suites that put fans incredibly close to the action
U.S. Bank Stadium has 23 Turf Suites that put fans just 25 feet from the playing field. It's the closest fans can get to watch NFL action in person.
Two of the best-positioned LED video boards in the NFL
The video boards at U.S. Bank Stadium are far from the league's biggest, and in fact, rank just 10th in the category of size. But the team believes the combination of screen quality and the placement of the boards (which are as low as possible in natural sight lines so fans don't have to look away from the action) makes them the most fan-friendly in the NFL.
Vikings Voyage, an interactive fan space
Located on the Upper Club level in the northwest corner of U.S. Bank Stadium is a 10,000-square foot interactive space that gives fans a dynamic experience. They have the opportunity to participate in combine-themed events, including catching passes while wearing a virtual reality Vikings helmet, running the three-crone drill against a current Vikings player's pace and hitting a tackling sled that measures impact force. This area is privately funded by the Vikings and is free to fans of all ages during all Vikings events.
Food options that highlight the Minneapolis-St. Paul community’s cuisine
The Vikings partnered with Aramark to deliver a world-class menu infused with Minnesota flavor, including local favorites like Gavin Kaysen’s Spoon and Stable, Ike’s Food & Cocktails and Revival Restaurant. The Vikings wanted to showcase some of the great tastes and flavors of the region, and the team partnered with 20 local restaurants to bring the idea to life.
An impressive art collection
U.S. Bank Stadium has a collection of hundreds of pieces of art, specifically commissioned from primarily local Minnesota artists. After receiving 1,100 submissions, more than 40 artists (including 36 from Minnesota) were selected to contribute 350 original pieces of work, 250 photographs and two concourse murals. This one is a picture of Prince, made up of his song lyrics.