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Doors On Vikings New Stadium Must Follow Retractable Roof Rules

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There was an old, oft-repeated rumor that swirled around Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands like the wind for which the now-demolished stadium was famous.

Opponents of the Giants and Jets long speculated that the home team's facility workers would open the big doors past the tunnel at one end of the stadium to increase wind gusts during strategic and often pivotal moments in a game, such as a visiting team's field goal attempt.

There will be no such skullduggery at the Vikings' new stadium.

The NFL informed the Vikings in late May that the league's existing policy regarding retractable roofs and walls – requiring teams to make a decision, open or closed, no less than 90 minutes prior to kickoff – will apply to U.S. Bank Stadium's five massive pivoting glass doors.

The Vikings were never hoping for nor planning any door-related chicanery. The team had long assumed that a league policy of some sort would govern what, at 55 feet wide and ranging from 75 to 95 feet tall, are the largest pivoting glass doors in the world. But they were initially unsure whether the NFL's existing policy regarding retractable roofs and walls would apply to them. The policy makes specific references to retractable roofs and retractable walls, but not to doors.

During a tour of the stadium's construction site at 50 percent completion last August, the team's executive vice president of public affairs and stadium development, Lester Bagley, said he thought the NFL would probably need to draft a new policy to govern the stadium's unique first-in-the-league feature.

Four NFL teams – the Cardinals, Colts, Cowboys and Texans – play in stadiums with retractable roofs. The Cowboys' and Colts' stadiums both also feature retractable window walls. But massive pivoting doors are a first.

Bagley said the team had discussions on the topic both internally and with the league, but said in late May the league office had clarified that the existing policy applies.

Bagley told WCCO the team accepts the decision.

"Our position at this time is that we will abide by NFL policy," Bagley told WCCO in an email.

That means the Vikings will be required to make a decision 90 minutes before kickoff of each game whether the doors will be opened or closed.

As for the factors that will go into that decision? Bagley said the Vikings would do testing once construction is complete to determine the impact of having doors open during a game.

"What happens," Bagley said, "when the doors open? Is there any kind of wind impact?"

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