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Vikings Alumni Get Inside Look at Close to Finished U.S. Bank Stadium

MINNEAPOLIS — For a brief moment, Carl Eller was back in the 1970s.

As Eller strolled the field level at U.S. Bank Stadium, he turned into a de-facto public address announcer, introducing himself by name, number and position.

Eller was one of a handful of Vikings alumni to tour the Vikings new digs Tuesday afternoon, reveling in the glory days of the Purple People Eaters.

"I was always the first one to be introduced," Eller said. "All the fans would cheer and yell and all of that stuff.

"That brought back memories."

Eller was one of three Pro Football Hall of Famers in attendance, along with safety Paul Krause and Head Coach Bud Grant.

The group also included Vikings Ring of Honor members Jim Marshall, Matt Blair and Joey Browner, as well as Tim Baylor, John Henderson, Dave Osborn and Doug Sutherland.

The alumni visited the Vikings locker room, the field, a suite and checked out the venue's mammoth video boards on the roughly 90-minute tour.

Everyone came away dazzled, including Eller, who had seen the inside of the stadium a few times already.

"Every time, there's a little bit more progress being made," Eller said. "It's fantastic … I'm impressed from all angles."

Henderson, a wide receiver who played five seasons in purple and gold, was last inside the stadium six months ago.

"It looks like a real stadium now," Henderson said. "It's real impressive. It looks like a first-class operation."

The final seats were recently installed at U.S. Bank Stadium, which is more than 90 percent complete.

For some alumni such as Grant, the eye-opening visit was their first time inside the stadium that will open in less than four months and host Super Bowl LII in 2018.

Grant needed just one word to describe his initial thoughts about the stadium — big.

The old-school Grant said he'd prefer a stadium out in the Minnesota elements. But the 88-year-old was appreciative that the Vikings set up the tour for his former players.

"It's great for the Vikings to remember us," Grant said. "It's a wonderful gesture."

The old teammates swapped stories and laughs, all while Grant still acted as the head coach when he barked out orders getting people together for a group photo.

"He forgot his whistle," Eller quipped. "He's having to round us up by voice."

Most of the alumni in attendance played at Metropolitan Stadium, a far cry from what Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and Harrison Smith will debut this autumn.

"It's like hamburgers and steak," Krause said as he compared the two stadiums. "It would have been a privilege to play in this place … it's like a mansion."

Krause, the NFL's all-time leader with 81 career interceptions, said he believes the franchise's national profile will be raised with the addition of its shiny new home.

"I think it's going to be fantastic," Krause said. "Everybody in the country will want to come see this stadium.

"Especially if the Vikings keep winning, this thing is just going to pop … you can bet I'm going to come to this field and watch football games."

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