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Vikings fans sit in first U.S. Bank Stadium seats

After their seats were installed this morning, fans got to check out seats at U.S. Bank Stadium this afternoon.

MINNEAPOLIS — A family that has supported the Vikings organization since the team's third season of 1963 was among a group of special guests who sat in the first seats installed in U.S. Bank Stadium on Monday.

Jerry Conlin, 80, is the patriarch of the family that has had tickets since 1963 when he owned Mounds Park Tavern.

The Conlin family has 12 seats in the state-of-the-art venue that is scheduled to open in July 2016, and several family members were able to tour the construction site and take in the view from section 224 where installation of 64,000 purple seats by Mortenson Construction/Irwin Seating Company began.

Mr. Conlin, who has six grandchildren, sat in the seats and looked the length of the eventual field where teamwork between dedicated construction workers is keeping the venue on track to open on time.

"It was beautiful," Mr. Conlin said. "I used to run a Bobcat, so I saw them down there running the Bobcat, and I could fit right in. I used to love it for snow removal." 

Mr. Conlin's past experiences go back to the elements at Metropolitan Stadium, where he'd drive others on an old school bus or join others in an RV for tailgates. His favorite player is Fran Tarkenton.

The view from the section on the east end of the stadium includes the Minneapolis skyline, a scene that will continue to be enjoyed because of a design that incorporates five of the world's largest pivoting glass doors on the west end of the building.

That was the favorite part for Mr. Conlin's daughter, Sue, who had seen recently watched news coverage of the stadium's construction.

"I was like, I wish we would get called in here, and last Friday I got an email from my brother," Sue said. "We got the chance to do it today, and it was great."

Her brother, Pat, said the height of the building, which soars past its predecessor, the Metrodome, stood out to him and he appreciated the increased room in seating areas.

Pat and Sue remembered plenty of cold games at the Met in the '70s and the move indoors.

"A lot of good times out there, a lot of cold days. Great football there, and when that ended, onto the Dome," Pat said. "As us kids grew up, we got to take friends to the game periodically and see more things as the stadium changed. It was a great experience."

Sue remembered bundling up in a snowmobile suit, but always enjoying the trips. Their family is looking forward to enjoying U.S. Bank Stadium, which will have an open feeling along with its comfortably controlled climate.

"I think it's great. I wish my dad could participate a little more, but since he's gotten older he hasn't gone to very many games, but I like to keep the tradition up and keep it going," Sue said. "He likes that, too, that we all get to enjoy it and the grandkids get to enjoy it."

A group of students from four schools were invited by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to tour the stadium and sit in the seats. The group was: Roseville Raiders baseball player Teddy Broxteman, St. Paul Central football player Jacques Lyles, Wayzata girls soccer players Emily Sullivan and Bailee Hyde and Eden Prairie band members Mia Prideaux and Joe Nelson.

The seats that are being currently installed are scheduled for completion in spring 2016. Installation of the stadium's telescopic seating on the north sideline is scheduled to begin in November and be completed by spring 2016.

More than 40,000 seats have been reserved through the Stadium Builder's License Program. Click here for more information on how to reserve your seats.

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