EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Over 100 women gathered at Winter Park Sunday afternoon for the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader open auditions.
Participants went through a number of rounds of competition, and there were cuts made after each round to arrive at 60 finalists.
Tami Krause, Director of Women's Initiatives, Strategic Development and Cheerleading, said this year's auditions featured a high level of talent across the board that made judging a difficult process.
"It was probably one of our toughest competitions in my 19 years with the team – the quality was amazing," Krause said. "It was difficult to make cuts, because we were letting go of women who were talented and beautiful, but we just have to keep narrowing it down to find our final 42."
The 60 finalists chosen completed interviews and football-knowledge testing Monday and will have three days of training camp this week. On Sunday, the women will compete in the semifinals – involving a spokesmodel, swimsuit and solo dance competition – at Pantages Theater (Minneapolis) at 6 p.m. (CT). Tickets for the event can be purchased through the ticketing office.
Each woman who makes the final roster will either be an on-field dancer or an ambassador, the latter being responsible for doing suite and club visits, pre-game appearances and game-day calendar sales.
"Being a part of the Vikings family is a huge honor," Krause said. "Having the opportunities you get as an NFL cheerleader and as a Minnesota Vikings cheerleader specifically is tremendous. I know the [women] come to the team because they love to perform, but they end up falling in love and staying and wanting to continue coming back because they love the fans, and they love the organization."
Since there are no guaranteed spots on the roster, women are required to attend auditions each offseason. This year, Krause said they have the highest number of veterans trying out to return for the 2016 season, some of them having been Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders for up to seven years.
"We've never had that high a level of veteran status," Krause said. "The team has been doing well so it's been fun to cheer, we've had great opportunities with traveling to the Hall of Fame Game last year, going to London [in 2013], and then this year, [U.S. Bank Stadium will open]. So there's been a lot of excitement around the team."