Updated: 08/08/2014 11:24 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson
A different era for the Minnesota Vikings started Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium. The University of Minnesota stadium will be the Vikings' home for the next two seasons while their new stadium is being built downtown.
The Vikings took on the Oakland Raiders in the exhibition opener Friday night. They beat the Raiders 10-6.
This is the first time in 32 years that the Vikings will play an entire season outside, no matter the weather.
Earlier this week, U of M associate athletic director Scott Ellison introduced the updates made to TCF Bank Stadium to prepare for the upcoming Vikings season. Major additions include the installation of new bleachers on the West Plaza, new goal posts, 38 miles of tubing to heat the turf and new turf with permanent inlays in the end zones.
All other aspects will be painted on the field before game days, including the Norseman and pro hash marks. In addition, the end zone inlays will be painted purple during Vikings games and will remain the natural gold during Gophers games.
College hash marks and numbers will be painted on the field prior to home Gopher games.
The university is not sure how long the field transformation will take between Vikings and Gophers games because they have not practiced the procedure with the proper equipment.
Ellison said the cost of the upgrades is about $2.5 million, which was completely covered by the Vikings. Additional upgrades will be made to the stadium as colder weather approaches in the concourse area.
Vikings fans are concerned about fewer parking spots near TCF Bank Stadium and a lot of traffic before and after games on campus.
"I think it will be brutal," one fan told us ahead of Friday night's game. "There's just so few spots to get out."
The U of M says it's trying to prepare in every way possible, but it's a first for them too.
"We are preparing for the unknown," said Tim Bussel with the U of M. "It's preseason for the university as well."
Some fans were tailgating too close to the stadium. We were with a group of co-workers when police caught them tailgating in parking lots adjacent to the stadium where it's not allowed. They were asked to move their pre-party elsewhere. Lt. Troy Buhta said, "We'll work with our parking services to try to find them a better spot, so we can stay within the policy the Vikings want us to but also make sure they're happy and can still tailgate and enjoy the game."
With the Vikings playing at the U of M, the Minneapolis Police Department is asking for an agreement with the team to put extra law enforcement in the neighborhoods around the stadium during games. The extra patrols wouldn’t cost the team or city extra money because the funds for the patrols are already in the budget.
The new Vikings stadium is now 15 percent complete and is expected to be done by July 2016.