The Vikings are set to host the New England Patriots in the team's home opener at TCF Bank Stadium. Sunday's game marks the first regular season game of the Vikings two-year tenure on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Here are five things fans should know about Sunday's home opener.
1. New Tailgating Options for 2014 Season
With the 2014 Minnesota State Fair behind us, the fairgrounds are now available for Vikings fans' parking/tailgating needs on game day. Approximately 1,500 spaces will be available for tailgating on Lot 108 at a cost of $20 per game. This is a convenient option for fans who do not want to deal with traffic. University buses will pick fans up at the lot, travel down the University's Transitway and drop fans off directly in front of TCF Bank Stadium for an expected total ride of less than 10 minutes. Fans can purchase season or single-game parking passes for the State Fairgrounds (St. Paul Lot) here.
The Vikings are also offering tailgating opportunities on surface lots just north of the old Metrodome/new stadium construction site. For $15, fans can enter on the corner of 4th Street and Chicago Avenue, tailgate in the neighborhood to which they are accustomed, hop on the Green Line at the Downtown East location and arrive in front of TCF Bank Stadium minutes later. Payment will be accepted at the time of entry.
2. Parking and Light Rail Transit: Plan Ahead!
Parking and traffic can be a pain heading to any stadium in any city, but with proper planning ahead of time fans will be able to avoid headaches. Helping matters is the Green Line rail system, which opened on June 14. The Green Line connects Minneapolis to St. Paul and has a stop in Stadium Village within two blocks of the stadium. This is a viable option for fans who don't want to deal with pre- and post-game traffic jams or pay parking fees.
For more parking tips as you head to the stadium this season and next, click here.
3. Sunday Marks the Beginning of a New EraThe Vikings have played two exhibition games at TCF Bank Stadium, but Sunday marks the regular season debut of Vikings football on the University of Minnesota campus. Head Coach Mike Zimmer leads a new-look Vikings team back to outdoor football and into the 2014 season, where the franchise has its sight set on turning things around and reclaiming NFC North supremacy behind disciplined, smart and tough football.
4. Year No. 2 for NFL's Bag PolicyTo provide a safe environment for fans attending the game and to expedite stadium entry at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings will enforce the NFL Bag Policy for a second consecutive season. The NFL's bag policy limits the size and type of bags that may be brought into the stadium on game day. Click here to familiarize yourself with the NFL's policy.
5. It's Time to Establish a New Home-Field AdvantageIn 32 seasons at the Metrodome, the Vikings established one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL, collecting the fourth-most home wins in the NFL since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. But having moved into TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings are now tasked with forging a new home-field advantage.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson says it's important to start establishing that home-field advantage this weekend.
"One thing we've talked about is establishing our home turf advantage," Peterson said. "This is our home for two years...making sure that we're getting Ws when we're playing at home. It's going to be a big challenge (playing the Patriots) and we're looking forward to it."