MINNEAPOLIS –The Vikings are coming to a new home but bringing several traditions.
That was clear Friday when Hall of Fame Head Coach Bud Grant joined current Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on a custom-built platform where Zimmer became the first person to sound the Gjallarhorn inside U.S. Bank Stadium.
Forever a coach, the 89-year-old Grant couldn't resist giving just a little bit of instruction prior to the big moment.
"Mike, you're going to blow it for the first time in the history of this stadium," Grant said. "Puff up your cheeks."
Zimmer blew the horn to begin a new Vikings legacy, while remembering to honor the past. More used to the sideline view, Zimmer said he appreciated the aerial view of the field from where the Gjallarhorn has been suspended.
"That was unique, to be up there that high," Zimmer said. "I may have to go up there a couple games, if they're not playing well."
Zimmer called Friday "a great day in the state of Minnesota for football."
"Our team is excited about having the opportunity to play in front of the best fans in the NFL, and now in the greatest venue of any in sports."
Grant, the franchise leader with 158 regular-season wins, 10 postseason victories and 11 division titles in 18 seasons, also enjoyed the view.
"Standing here today, and looking out on this stadium, I'm trying to think of the proper word, and all I can come up with is 'awesome,' " Grant said during the ceremony. "We've created a destination, not only for football, but for every event we're going to have in Minnesota and the Midwest. It's a tremendous achievement by the Vikings organization, the Wilfs and their family and the staff that have worked diligently to put this thing together."
The Gjallarhorn isn't a new concept for Vikings fans. The ornate horn is sounded before every Vikings game, and special guests have included Vikings alumni, other Minnesota athletes and decorated veterans.
"The Gjallarhorn signifies the Vikings are coming," Grant said. "The significance shouldn't be lost."
View images from the ribbon cutting event to mark the historic opening of U.S. Bank Stadium Friday.