Starting in 2016 – if all goes well – the Vikings will have themselves a shiny new home. In the meantime they must still use the decrepit and much-despised Metrodome. Until it becomes necessary to tear down the Metrodome and make way for the new facility. Then it will be on to TCF Bank Stadium, a venue the team and fans are already familiar with after that whole roof collapse debacle in 2010.
What we don’t yet know is how long the Vikings will actually have to play in the non-climate-controlled confines of TCF. Most expect their stay to last only a few games while the Metrodome is razed and the new stadium, much of which will be built side-by-side with the still-occupied Metrodome, completed. But there’s always the possibility that complications will arise, or that construction will take longer than anticipated, or that the Metrodome will cave in again forcing the Vikings to vacate sooner than expected.
To cover themselves, the Vikings have reached an agreement with the University of Minnesota allowing them to use TCF for up to four years. That’s a worst-case scenario. As part of the agreement, the Vikes will have to fork over $250,000 per game, so obviously they will be motivated to make their tenancy as brief as possible. The Vikings will also have to reimburse the university for any improvements made to the stadium. TCF accommodates about 14,000 fewer patrons than the Metrodome and it’s expected the Vikings will want to close that gap by adding seats.
TCF may not be an ideal home for an NFL team, even over the short term, but it does provide one thing many fans have been longing for: the chance to watch the Vikings play home games outside in the elements. Who knows. If the Vikings turn out to be good in 2015? Those TCF games could be meaningful late-season contests like the Bud Grant-led battles of yore. Talk about waking up the echoes.