The Vikings don't think any fan holding a ticket to Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears will be left out in the cold at TCF Bank Stadium.
The game was relocated to the home of the Gophers after the roof of the Metrodome collapsed last Sunday morning under the weight of 17 inches of snow. The building has been deemed inoperable and no timetable for the roof repairs have been given, meaning more than 63,000 fans would have be sorted through to figure out which of them would be attending the game at TCF Bank Stadium. Vikings vice president of sales and marketing Steve LaCroix said TCF will hold about 54,000, including an area that would accommodate about 3,000 people for stand-room-only admission behind one of the end zones.
"We're going to be able to fit everyone in the building on game night," LaCroix said Friday. "At this point we can't guarantee that, but at this point we're feeling very confident that there's going to be no one turned away from the game."
The Vikings looked at six or seven different plans to try to accommodate fans and announced on Thursday that people holding tickets to the game at the Metrodome would be allowed into TCF Bank Stadium on a general-admission, first-come, first-serve basis. They will be separated by upper- and lower-deck tickets.
That has caused concerns that fans who get up to use the bathroom or get concessions would lose their seat if other fans claimed the seat while the original people were gone.
"There is definitely a concern amongst fans that they're going to lose their seat when they go use the bath room. Again, we hope common sense prevails," LaCroix said. "We hope Vikings fans treat other Vikings fans with the right kind of respect. You hope that Minnesota Nice prevails. It's not an ideal situation, but let's all have the common feeling to make this a fun night. And let's not make it a confrontational type of night. It should be a night to have fun."
LaCroix said security at "The Bank" will be beefed up. The University of Minnesota will use its own security force and ushers, and will increase the numbers used for Gophers games. The Vikings will add some assistance from their game-day security force, and the NFL is contributing to the plan.
"The NFL has several individuals here that run special events, that run logistics for Super Bowls and Pro Bowls and NFL drafts, and they'd know how to handle crowds," LaCroix said. "We feel it's going to be an organized system on the way in. We want people to be safe and it's not a mad rush or anything like that. I think we've got a plan that'll make people feel comfortable in the process and it's not an unsafe environment."
Since the Vikings announced the plan for seating at TCF Bank Stadium, they have been criticized by some media and fans, but they insist this is the plan that makes the most sense given a bad situation on a timetable that didn't allow them to reissue tickets on some sort of lottery basis or other method for choosing which of the 63,000-plus ticket-holders wouldn't be able to attend. The Vikings sent a survey to their ticket holders, and that polling of their interest in attending the game leads the club to believe that everyone that wants to attend will find a seat.
"We love their passion. That's what translates into a great fan base," LaCroix said. "There just wasn't enough time to reset everything in six days, cancel out over 60,000 season tickets … and then start from scratch."
If there are fans that want to attend and don't get in, they will be reimbursed for the face value of their ticket.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Vikings believe no fan will be left behind
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