Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Vikings’

ImageImageThe new Vikings Stadium was introduced last night and it is like something you have never seen before.  Personally, I love the design.  There sure are a lot of good things going on with the Minnesota Vikings right now.  New uniforms, new stadium coming and a couple of excellent recent drafts.  Not to mention, according to reports Brian Urlacher is close to making a decision on where he will play next season and he is leaning towards the Vikings.  The report, if true, would mean that the Vikings have already offered Urlacher.  I am 100% on board with signing him.  We have a young team and he would add some veteran leadership and teach some of the young LB’s a thing or two.

Here is some info on the new stadium from the Star Tribune:

The nearly billion-dollar Viking stadium that will rise from the ruins of the old Metrodome will be big, bold and put fans closer to the action than any other venue in professional football.

It’ll have giant pivoting glass doors that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline and a roof that, while not retractable, will let in so much sunlight come game days, fans will feel as though they’re sitting outdoors.

Seven stadium decks will surround a field of artificial turf and two giant high-tech scoreboards at each end zone will replay the big plays and flash the game stats.

In short, the still unnamed stadium, which will be connected by skyway to downtown, won’t be the Metrodome.

Details of the design were unveiled Monday by HKS Inc., the project architect, during an elaborate presentation at the Guthrie Theater. More than 500 people attended the event, including scores of fans decked out in purple-and-gold chanting the Vikings fight song and hollering approval from the balcony seats.

According to the first reviews from that admittedly biased crowd, the design scored big.

“The structure itself — it’s a beauty just to look at,” said Dulce Avalos, 18, a fan from Crystal.

“I love it,” said Colleen Hayes, a season-ticket holder from Burnsville. “It’s beautiful. I love light and airy and it’s all light and airy.”

Minutes after HKS principal Bryan Trubey finished unveiling the renderings to cheers and applause, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved the design and sent it to the city of Minneapolis for review.

At 1.6 million square feet, the stadium will be nearly twice the size of the outdated Dome. It’ll seat 65,000 fans for NFL games but accommodate up to 73,000 for special events, such as a Super Bowl.

The skyline’s newest addition will be asymmetrical and almost diamond-like in shape, featuring sharp angles and a roof line that rises to a peak on the downtown end, which doubles as the building’s grand entryway. From the side, that end juts out, resembling the prow of a ship or a jagged iceberg.

The building facade will be made of metal panels and a glazed glass curtain wall and have four entrances. A walkway will surround the stadium, leading fans to and from stadium gates.

Clerestory windows will circle the building just under its roof line. Five, 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors at concourse level will allow fans to enter and exit a plaza — more than 2 acres in size — just outside the stadium.

“What we’re really building is a state of the art, indoor, statewide park of sorts that will be used by thousands of Minnesotans throughout the years,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the stadium authority.

Trubey also showed renderings of the facility housing a Final Four tournament and a Motocross event, as well as baseball, hockey and soccer games.

“This will be the most versatile structure on the planet,” he said.

Conspicuous by its absence was a retractable roof, a key feature pursued by the team and authority, and one that many fans, longing for a return to outdoor football and the team’s storied past, wanted to see.

To compensate, and give fans a sense of the outdoors, architects created openings for natural light.

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About half the roof will have a hard covering or deck, with the remainder made up of ETFE, a transparent glass-like polymer that was used to cover the outside of the Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the “Water Cube,” site of the 2008 Olympic swimming competition.

“We think clear is the new retractable,” Trubey said.

Kelm-Helgen said the retractable roof was in play “for a long time” and that the final decision wasn’t made until last week. She said it ultimately was dropped because it was too costly and couldn’t fit within the construction budget without sacrificing other features the team and authority wanted.

In general, retractable roofs cost anywhere from $25 million to $50 million more to build and install than a fixed roof, industry experts have said.

“It was very obvious from a budget standpoint that we couldn’t do it,” Kelm-Helgen said.

‘One step closer to reality’

Inside, three of the stadium’s seven levels will feature suites, including some at field level. Elevators, escalators and ramps will take fans to seating in each stadium deck.

Concourses will be wider than those at the Metrodome, and there’ll be “many more bathrooms,” Kelm-Helgen said.

Speaking before the unveiling, Gov. Mark Dayton emphasized the thousands of jobs that the project would create.

“I’m just so excited about tonight because it makes this stadium one step closer to reality,” he said.

More detailed drawings of the interior design and finishings will be unveiled later this summer and fall, in time for the October groundbreaking. The city of Minneapolis has up to four months to review and approve the design and issue the necessary building permits.

“Awesome,” said David Gunderson of Brooklyn Park, as the program wrapped up. “It looks like a ship. The ship has landed.”

Added Ben Theis, of Golden Valley, “I like the idea of the new kind of retractable roof, with the covering.”

Still, one of his big questions remained unanswered after the nearly hourlong presentation.

“Now,” he said, “I want to know about the tailgating.”

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It’s been almost a week since NFL Free Agency started and I posted what I was hoping the Vikings would do. I missed all three. Andy Levitre signed a deal with the Titans. I still believe the Vikings should have been more active in trying to improve the middle of their offensive line. And Levitre would have been a great choice.

Philip Wheeler signed with the Dolphins, who have been very active in free agency. The Vikings had two starting LB’s as UFA’s…so, there was a need to sign some LB’s; however, they showed no interest in Wheeler and ended up re-signing one of their own, Erin Henderson. Meanwhile, last seasons starting MLB, Jasper Brinkley signed with the Cardinals.

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Brian Urlacher in purple?

So, the Vikings are still in need of a MLB and there have been reports there is mutual interest between the Vikings and long time Chicago Bear MLB Brian Urlacher. I have a hard time believing this will happen. Personally, I believe he stays in Chicago. Urlacher is a HUGE name, but can he still play? I think it would be fun to have him in purple. If anything, he’s a veteran that can help stabilize the defense. Which is important since the Vikings cut long time CB Antoine Winfield, which was due a little more than 7 million next year. Regarding Winfield, I truly hope the Vikings will reach out to him about signing back for next season. While he isn’t the cover corner he once was, there isn’t a DB in the league that can play the run like Antoine. And he’s a great guy.

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Matt Cassel

Lastly, the QB I wanted was Chase Daniel. He, almost immediately signed with the Chiefs. I was a little surprised he went there since the Chiefs recently traded for Alex Smith to be their starting QB and I think he had a better chance starting over Ponder. Because of that signing, the Chiefs cut former starting QB Matt Cassel. The Vikings jumped at that and signed him to back up Ponder.

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Greg Jennings

The Vikings ended up signing 8 out of 10 of their own free agents. The most important being Phil Loadholt. In addition to that, they made a huge splash and signed former top WR from the hated Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings. I mentioned in my previous post that WR wouldn’t have been my concern and I was worried about the cost of signing Jennings. However, the market for WR was actually a lot lower than I anticipated. Jennings was given a 5 year deal. Jennings is a very good WR and is also a great teammate.

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Manti Te’o

Free agency is not over and I assume the Vikings will remain active and sign some lower tier players. Unless they surprise and go after Urlacher hard. So, leading up to the draft I suspect the Vikings will target a WR and LB with their two first round picks (they got #25 overall for Percy Harvin). While he’s been the joke of college football for getting “catfished” and having a fake dead girlfriend (the most bizarre sports related story I have ever heard), having a poor game in the National Championship and running a slow time in the combine…I fully expect the Vikings to be interesed in Manti Te’o with the 25th overall pick. Prior to the National Championship, Teo was looked as a lock to go top 15. Now, he will slip and some say into the 2nd round. The Vikings have made a habit of drafting “Golden Domers” and I believe Te’o is purple.

The WR pick is a bit more complicated. I believe they need to target Tavon Austin. But, I don’t think he will be there come the 23rd overall pick. He’s basically a smaller version of Percy Harvin and has big play capabilities. I don’t believe he gets past the Rams selection. There is a chance they could use the 23rd pick and a 2nd rounder to move up a few slots to get him…but there are a few WR’s I like almost as much as Austin. So, staying at 23 and drafting the next best WR is probably the route the Vikings go.

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The Honey Badger

Lastly, I want the Vikings to come out of this draft with the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu). Even if that means drafting him in the 2nd. There is a lot of talk about the Honey Badger dropping to rounds 3 or 4…but picking late in the 3rd means there are 22 teams ahead of you that can, and probably will pick him. He comes with baggage, but his talent can not be refuted.