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Griffen, Bridgewater & Teammates Visit U.S. Bank Stadium Locker Room & Field

MINNEAPOLIS — Everson Griffen and Teddy Bridgewater calmly and methodically walked from the Vikings locker room inside U.S. Bank Stadium to the turf-covered field.

As the panoramic view opened, and the ridge truss reached skyward, the "wow factor" set in for the defensive end and quarterback who want to conquer opponents in this space for years to come.

Each did several 360-degree turns — at a much slower pace than Griffen spin-moving his way past an offensive tackle — to take in the sights. Staring at 66,000-plus purple seats, they couldn't help but think how close fans will be to the action and what they'll sound like on game days.

Several Vikings players recently took a tour of U.S. Bank Stadium, which is nearing completion.

"I think it's an awesome stadium," Griffen told Vikings.com on Friday. "I'm going to be calling it home for several more years. Our whole goal now is to bring a championship to this stadium. We're here for one goal, and that's to win.

"I'm going on seven seasons, and coming from the Metrodome to TCF to this, it makes you want to play harder for the fans and get the stadium rocking," Griffen added. "We want to hear the crowd noise, we want to get the people going. There's great seats, great entertainment. This is going to be a fun place to be."

Griffen and Bridgewater were joined on the visit by veteran offensive lineman Joe Berger, receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Adam Thielen and rookie QB Joel Stave. The Friday afternoon tour occurred as crews were working on the Norseman logo at midfield, 100 days before Minnesota hosts San Diego. That Aug. 28 preseason contest will be the first football game in the state-of-the-art venue.

The players wore safety vests instead of purple jerseys and black construction gloves instead of the white football gloves more commonly seen on "Teddy Two Gloves." The hard hats that they donned featured the familiar horns that adorn Vikings helmets.

The stadium, which is more than 95 percent complete, has risen from the same ground of its predecessor, the Metrodome, which opened in 1982 and hosted the Vikings until 2013.

Griffen called the Metrodome home for his first four pro seasons after his selection in 2010. Berger arrived in Minnesota in 2011, and Patterson and Thielen were first with the team in 2013, when the Metrodome made its curtain call. 

Bridgewater has helped the Vikings time in transition with home games at the University of Minnesota since arriving in 2014. The Vikings posted the best regular-season home record (11-5) of any team playing its home games in a temporary stadium. The players are ready to be more than guests. 

"Nice facility. I like some of the amenities that come with the facility," Bridgewater said. "I never played in the Metrodome, so I hear the guys talk about the difference, but I'm excited.

"It's great, knowing that we'll get our own locker room," Bridgewater added. "TCF was great, and the fans supported us there, but I just can't wait. I can only imagine what it's like to be in a new home."

Thielen said the 1.75 million-square-foot stadium (Metrodome was 900,000) seemed "a lot bigger in person than you think from just looking at pictures. It looks nice, but when you actually get in there and see how nice it is, it's cool how you can see out of it, see the downtown area. It feels like you're outside even though you're inside."

That aspect is created by a west wall of glass with a view of the skyline and use of a clear ETFE material on 60 percent of the roof. The outdoor-feel with indoor-comfort, along with suites that encircle the playing field, were the favorite parts for the Minnesota native, who played plenty of cold-weather games in high school, college and the past two years in the pros.

Over the last week both the Norseman logo and mid-field and the end zones were painted at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Patterson, who scored the final two touchdowns in the Metrodome, took note of the considerable differences and appreciated the work that construction crews have put it to have U.S. Bank Stadium so close to the goal line.

"It's way different. I loved the Metrodome, to be honest, but everything is different," Patterson said. "The Metrodome was up for 30 years, and I think it was time for the Metrodome to be gone. I'm glad we've got something new, and we can't wait to get it rocking.

"It's sick, man. Those guys have been working two years in rain, sleet, snow, whatever," Patterson added. "It's awesome for those guys to build something like that for us. Being out there and seeing it, you can't wait to be part of that. … The first home game of the season against Green Bay (Sept. 18) is going to be a great game. I want all the fans to come out and support us. We're going to give our all to them and hope everybody shows up for a sell-out crowd."

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