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What Would It Take For Vikes To Play At TCF For 3 Years?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If the Dome does end up getting torn down so that a new Vikings stadium can be built there, the team would have to play at TCF Bank Stadium for up to three seasons.

Last season there was a mad scramble to clear off the snow covered seats when TCF became the site for the Vikings vs. Bears game, after the dome roof collapsed.

The stadium had been closed for the season and had to be reopened.

But if the Vikings end up having to use the Gophers stadium as their interim field -- it'll need more than a temporary fix.

The U billed the Vikings roughly $1.8 million for renting the stadium to the Vikings for one game last year but for a full season there would be complications.

The U says if the Vikings play there it would be a huge scheduling headache. Williams Arena, where the Gophers basketball team plays, is right right next to TCF. The U's athletic communications director Gary Bowman said if the Vikings played at TCF on Sunday, all Gophers basketball, hockey and volleyball games would have to be rescheduled because of traffic concerns.

Another issue is, three years at TCF would mean three years of fans doing without beer and other alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is not allowed at U athletic venues.

"Vikings fans will want their beer," Cory Merrifield of said.

Then there's the lack of parking and the lack of seats.

The Dome has 65,000 seats and TCF can only hold 45,000. With fewer seats the Vikings estimate they would lose $12 million a year on ticket sales -- that's $36 million over three seasons.

And then there is the issue of the stadium not being built to be used in December and January, when temperatures are obviously much colder.

The one-time cost to get TCF's temperature ready is $11 million. Heating coils will have to be installed in the field, restrooms and other water pipes will have to be insulated and concession stands will need cold-weather protection for both vendors and their food.

But while TCF is far from ideal, it's a site super fan Merrifield could live with.

"It has been done before. Chicago and Arizona both had to make do and play at nearby colleges while their stadiums are being built so I guess if it is between this and LA and what we are forced to take, we will take it," he said.

And the U says they actually have talked to the University of Illinois about their experience hosting the Bears. In many ways, that was a lot worse for fans. Champagne is almost three hours from Chicago. But that was only for one season, when Soldier Field was being renovated and not torn down.


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