Eric Oslund

Turf is only question mark for Minnesota Vikings players at new stadium

While the reviews on the new U.S. Bank Stadium were usually glowing from players, the new turf is still a question mark.

On the same play that Minnesota Vikings safety Antone Exum hurt his leg against the San Diego Chargers Sunday afternoon, Cordarrelle Patterson slipped during a kickoff return.

Patterson got up. Exum struggled to, was later taken to the locker room for an MRI and placed on injured reserve Wednesday.

Injuries can happen on any field – the Vikings found that out in a devastating way two days later on their well-manicured outdoor practice field with Teddy Bridgewater’s season-ending knee injury – but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he assumed the field at the new U.S. Bank Stadium would be slippery. After Patterson and Marcus Sherels each slipped during kick returns, it would appear that is the case.

Most players praised every aspect of the new $1.1 billion stadium, but the turf wasn’t one of the highlights for Patterson.

“To be honest, I don’t like it. I feel like it’s really slippery, probably because it’s our first time here, first time playing on it,” Patterson said. “I hope next week it would be way better than it was. I seen a couple slips, and me, I slipped and I didn’t like it.”

Patterson averaged 21.5 yards on his two returns, but the one in which he slipped only gained 15 yards, leaving the Vikings to start their drive on the 17-yard line.

“I talked to some of the players and they thought it was good. So, I think it’s fine,” Zimmer said. “There might’ve been a couple slips or something, I don’t know. But that happens all the time.”

The slips seemed to happen mostly in the return game, but coaches and players seemed to believe that with more use, the slipperiness would diminish.

“I didn’t have a problem with it,” CB Trae Waynes said. “I think we’ll just have to get used to it, but it’s a beautiful place.”

The vast majority of reviews on the new stadium from players were positive. The noise stood out.

“It was good. 66,000 (fans), it was amazing here,” Patterson said. “I appreciate all the fans coming out and showing their support. Hopefully they’ll be loud like that next week. (On Sunday) it was rocking.”

As a defensive player, Waynes appreciated the boisterous fans and the acoustical setup of the stadium that sends noise bouncing off the roof and back toward the playing field.

“I feel like it definitely disrupted the opposing offense. The fans were really loud and it’s a plus for the defense,” Waynes said. “We enjoy that kind of stuff.”


The Vikings offense certainly didn’t seem to be affected. Bridgewater and Hill both led touchdown drives, and Zimmer said the crowd noise didn’t really affect his offense.

“It wasn’t too bad. I thought the crowd was loud today. I think it’ll be even louder the next time we come in here,” he said. “It should be a pretty exciting time. I thought the acoustics as far as the crowd noise was good.” 

The Vikings haven’t been in the stadium on a mostly sunny day. Sunday was mostly overcast, although the sun peaked out from behind the clouds occasionally, casting some mild shadows on the field.

The bright ring of LED lights surrounding the roof weren’t an issue Sunday, according to receiver Charles Johnson.

“I have to test it more on deeper passes where you actually have to look up at the ball and things like that. In our indoor facility, it’s kind of hard to track the ball because it’s brown,” Johnson said. “That prepares us for stuff like this because it’s really hard to track because the ceiling is brown so it blends with the ball.”


Tight end Kyle Rudolph called the atmosphere in the new stadium “incredible” and looks forward to regular-season games there. Certainly the home opener against the Green Bay Packers should be raucous, even with Bridgewater.

But perhaps the biggest praise for the new stadium came from defensive end Justin Trattou.

“It’s awesome man,” he said. “I’ve played in pretty much almost every stadium in the league. This thing is by far the best one I’ve ever played in.”



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