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Tafoya: NBC has Vikings Home Opener with Packers Circled

Posted Aug 22, 2016

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Michele Tafoya will have the distinction of handling sideline reporting duties in the final outdoor Vikings home game for the foreseeable future and the first regular season game inside U.S. Bank Stadium.

In less than a month, the Vikings will host the division-rival Packers on Sunday Night Football for their home opener. After covering the outdoor Wild Card game against the Seahawks at the University of Minnesota in January, which at minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit was the coldest in franchise history, Tafoya is excited to be moving inside to U.S. Bank Stadium.

“I’m so happy; I’m so relieved,” Tafoya told Vikings.com last week. “You know what, every passing year I get wimpier and wimpier about the weather – it’s just the way it’s going. So I’m thrilled that it’s going to be indoors.”

Tafoya is no stranger to cold weather, as the California-born reporter now calls the Twin Cities home. She said of all the places she enjoys covering football games – including Dallas, Seattle and Green Bay – Minnesota tops her list. After all, it requires no airplane travel.

“The home opener against Green Bay – we have that one circled,” said Tafoya, who works with play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and color commentator Cris Collinsworth for NBC. “We love that game for so many reasons. The stadium – we’ll be able to show it off. We have the Packers, who are one of the premier teams, particularly in the NFC and in the division, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Tafoya said she can’t wait to finally be inside of the Vikings new home. U.S. Bank Stadium holds another level of significance for Tafoya, a full-time resident of Minnesota. From a community standpoint, Tafoya said she’s eager to see the building host so many unique events throughout the year.

“I see a lot of things planned for the stadium, and it was built and designed with that in mind,” Tafoya said. “I think the Twin Cities should be really proud of all of its sports venues, because they are all really second-to-none.”

Tafoya’s career has taken her to innumerable sporting venues with which to compare Minnesota’s, including internationally. Most recently, she covered the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She called the experience “incredible,” from covering Michael Phelps’ fifth Olympics to Simone Manuel becoming the first African-American woman to win an individual medal in a swimming event.

Tafoya even wondered if the Olympics may land in Minnesota one day.

“I know people are starting to rumble about, you know, ‘Olympics sometime here in Minnesota,’ ” Tafoya said. “And certainly with the facilities, they may have what it takes.”