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Lunchbreak: Breakdown of Plan, Protocols & Likelihood of Fans at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2020

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After this week's bye, 10 Vikings games remain to be played in the 2020 regular season – five of which will be home contests.

Rochelle Olson wrote for the Star Tribune that the Vikings are "still hoping to bring fans into U.S. Bank Stadium – if they can get the go ahead" from Gov. Tim Walz. There are no expectations for a full-capacity crowd, of course; but according to Olson, the likelihood of any general attendance being allowed doesn't appear high. She wrote:

Vikings fans are nothing if not loyal, and some want to see them in person. So the team has spent months drawing up plans phasing in a safe return to fans in the stands, beginning with a smallish crowd of 3,300, or about [five percent] of the building's capacity.

To bring in fans, however, they first need a green light from Gov. Tim Walz by the middle of this week. The governor hasn't given any sign that he's ready to open the stadium doors, so the prospects aren't promising for those who want to watch the game from [the stadium seats].

Vikings COO Andrew Miller emphasized the organization isn't challenging the severity or difficulty of managing the pandemic. But he said he feels a commitment to the rabid loyalists who bleed purple every fall.

"We believe it's our responsibility to our fans to try to have them at games," Miller told Olson. "It does create more energy for the players on the field."

Stadium managers told Olson the building is ready to go, but a hiring process for game-day workers would take approximately two weeks, which would be just enough time before the next home game on Nov. 8.

If fans aren't allowed in for the next game, they're probably going to be shut out for the duration.

Olson noted that U.S. Bank Stadium "qualifies as a large indoor venue, even when the five massive doors on the west façade are wide open."

The Vikings would plan to "make the building smaller" by dividing the stadium down into seven "self-contained pods" that each would have its own concession stands and restrooms.

Fans would be assigned to one pod, where they would remain for the game and outside of which they couldn't roam. Tickets would come with an assigned entry time and designated gate.

[…]

In recent games, the Vikings have tested potential protocols with the 250 friends and family they're allowed to let in. … Team employees, stadium staffers and reporters also have followed protocols that include temperature screenings and health questionnaires before entering the stadium.

To read Olson's full breakdown of the Vikings plan to prioritize health and safety at U.S. Bank Stadium, click here.

Justin Jefferson 'out-playing entire class' of rookie WRs

There's no doubt about it: Minnesota got a special one when the Vikings drafted Justin Jefferson out of LSU with the 22nd overall pick.

Through six games, Jefferson is the NFL's fifth-leading receiver with 537 yards, trailing only Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (601), Panthers WR Robby Anderson (566), Bills WR Stefon Diggs (555) and Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (546).

He's also already writing his name in the record books:

Jefferson has been highly touted by analytics site Pro Football Focus, as well.

According to PFF's Anthony Treash, Jefferson is the second-highest-graded rookie through the NFL's first six weeks. He wrote:

There have only been five single-game grades north of 91.0 at the receiver position this year, and Jefferson has three of those five. There's no wonder why he's the NFL's highest-graded wideout through Week 6.

The first-round rookie has posted staggering numbers against single coverage, which was an area of concern when he was coming into the league. He has produced the highest receiving grade on those reps while catching 12-of-14 targets for 302 yards and three scores.

He has generated separation on 10 of those 14 targets and has caught three of his four contested opportunities when he didn't get separation. All the buzz throughout the draft process was about Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb, but right now Jefferson is outplaying the entire class.

Jefferson came in at No. 2 behind Patriots guard Michael Onwenu. Nos. 3-10 on Treash's list were as follows: Steelers WR Chase Claypool, Washington EDGE Chase Young, Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Washington RB Antonio Gibson, Seahawks guard Damien Lewis, Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Buccaneers tackle Tristan Wirfs and Colts safety Julian Blackmon.

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