Around the NFL, the preseason is typically viewed with a significant level of apathy. Fans have been there and done that.
The NFL never makes a point of mentioning the vastly different opinions of fan bases when it comes to the preseason, because some are downright embarrassing.
The one surety of the preseason is that many of the people filling seats for the preseason games won’t be the same people sitting in those chairs when their favorite team is playing in September, October, November, December and, with any luck, January. You won’t find the birds of August in January.
You can make the argument that because of the novelty of the new U.S. Bank Stadium, about noon Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings inaugurate the new building with its intended purpose, the joint will be jumping. If the boat is rockin’, don’t come knockin’; come in through those big glass doors.
It has the potential to be a home-field advantage interlopers are left to believe is akin to bringing a knife to a gun fight.
We all know how that story ends.
Vikings fans have always been “all in” on their fandom. They make no apologies for that, nor should they. Those in the house Sunday may not be in Zygi Bank in December when Everson Griffen puts the wood to Andrew Luck, but they can set the tone for what follows.
If you rank the loyalty of a fan base, the focus always tends to be on Green Bay and Pittsburgh. Why not? Those fans have known what it feels like to cheer a Super Bowl champ. Depending on their ages, multiple times.
To be a Vikings fans is to innately know the phrase, “Close, but no cigar.” Yet, the fans show up.
Build it and they will come.
The stadium is set to open its giant glass doors Sunday for the first of hundreds of games that memories will be built upon. Met Stadium is the relic icon by which memories have become Bunyan-esque over time that future incarnations of the franchise needed to meet.
The Metrodome has its own rich history of teams, players, seasons and moments.
Even TCF Bank Stadium can claim halfway house status that provided its share of snapshots in time to recollect – both good and bad.
At a time when traditions have been intrinsic to the Vikings’ past, why not make a new tradition?
A Viking clap – if properly executed, like in the video above – could be the tradition that U.S. Bank Stadium is known for.
Co-opted? Yes. But, the Islandic courts would be clogged up for years in red tape.
Few things can be more intimidating than a home-field advantage that makes opponents look around and mutter, “I don’t like this.”
It’s called a Viking clap for a reason. Apparently, at some point, that was a “watch your back end” moment for the men in the land of ice and snow, and 66,000 people doing a pre-game Viking clap simultaneously prior to the team introduction would be pretty daunting.
Teaching native Minnesotans collective rhythm isn’t easy, but, if Iceland can do it, it’s clearly possible.
Nothing would make Aaron Rodgers have a moment of pregame pause more than have the crew at the Zygi Bank force up unwanted goosebumps.
Met Stadium is remembered for flame-throwers melting concrete-style turf in January.
The Metrodome was known for the noise – and its shady roof.
TCF was known for the novelty of modern-day outdoor football in Minnesota and the 21st Century realities of January football in Minnesota.
U.S. Bank Stadium can be known for the spookiest unwelcome any opponent could possibly receive prior to the start of a game.
It can make the Terrible Towel pale by comparison.
The “I Got the Clap At The Zygi Bank” T-shirt will treble them in sales.
It’s up to you, Vikings fans. It may take some logistics and instructional reminders on the big screens to get it done. But, all traditions have to come from a starting point. If the Vikings are willing to buy into the concept, it could become the pregame ritual others vainly attempt to copy for years to come.
The blueprint is there, boys. Dial it up to 11 and make it yours.