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Looking Ahead to the Opening of U.S. Bank Stadium

The opening of U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016 provides a sense of optimism for the Minnesota Vikings. Standing nearly 30 stories tall and covering more than 1.75 million square feet, it represents a bright future for Mike Zimmer’s team; it’s a home that finally matches the Vikings’ recent progress on the field.

Designed as the epicenter of downtown east Minneapolis, it’s a fitting stadium for the Vikings and a welcome attraction for local Minnesotans. With a Super Bowl coming to Minnesota in 2018, U.S. Bank Stadium may become the first venue to host its own team in the big game in NFL history.

Looking back, 13 franchises have opened new stadiums since 2000, and each has done so with similar aspirations of success and revitalization. Under Zimmer, the Vikings have gone 18-14, all while playing outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium. Does history suggest their winning ways will continue, or does a move spell disaster for a team on the rise?

The New Stadiums

The Results

  • Bengals (4-12 to 4-12) lost to Browns 24-7
  • Steelers (9-7 to 13-3) beat Bengals 16-7
  • Broncos (11-5 to 8-8) beat Giants 31-20
  • Lions (2-14 to 3-13) lost to Packers 31-37
  • Seahawks (9-7 to 7-9) lost to Cardinals 13-24
  • Patriots (11-5 to 9-7) beat Steelers 30-14
  • Texans (4-12) beat Cowboys 19-10
  • Eagles (12-4 to 12-4) lost to Buccaneers 0-17
  • Cardinals (5-11 to 5-11) beat 49ers 34-27
  • Colts (13-3 to 12-4) lost to Bears 13-29
  • Cowboys (9-7 to 11-5) lost to Giants 31-33
  • Giants (8-8 to 10-6) beat Panthers 31-18
  • Jets (9-7 to 11-5) lost to Ravens 9-10
  • 49ers (12-4 to 8-8) lost to Bears 20-28

Combined, the teams went 6-7 in the home openers at their respective stadiums. Of the 13 franchises, only five improved their record from the previous year, while the remaining eight either regressed or finished with the same regular season mark.

When the Vikings moved from the Metrodome to their temporary home at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014, their record actually improved. The hiring of Zimmer, along with the arrival of Teddy Bridgewater and the improvement of key players on defense, helped the team notch two more wins than they did under Leslie Frazier the previous year. That trend continued in 2015, as the Vikings finished the season 11-5 and clinched their first division title since 2009.

Given the state of the current roster and the positive outlook moving forward, the Vikings have a chance to buck the losing trends of former relocated teams. Their home opponents in 2016 include the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals, and of course, their three NFC North foes. It’s very likely that the NFL will schedule the Vikings in a primetime home opener Week 1.

Teams like the Cardinals, who bested the Vikings last season, would be a fitting opponent to kick of Minnesota’s new era in U.S. Bank Stadium. The new “digs” and buzz surrounding Minnesota will make them an attractive opening night showcase for the league. Their new home is a palace fit for kings. Can the Vikings prove they’re worthy of such a throne?

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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Kevin
4 years ago

Wish they were going to still be playing outdoors – it better fits the aggressive defense they are building.

Bret
Bret
4 years ago

That D will be so fast and aggressive on the new turf. I almost feel sorry for our opp. Qbs.

cka2nd
cka2nd
4 years ago

Feh! Corporate welfare at its worst!

Grumble, grumble. In the middle of the Great Recession, Los Angeles and its suburbs were NOT going to pour money at the Wilfs’ feet to steal the team from Minnesota; it was the PERFECT time to play hardball with them and the NFL.

Sagga, fragga, growl! It should have been built with public money and named for either a respected public figure (HHH, Floyd Olson), group (Veterans Memorial, anyone?), institution (Union – as in the United States – or, hell, in Minnesota, why not Labor and/or Farmers!?!), or maybe a local sports legend like BUD frickin’ GRANT!!! Lower ticket prices and no evil, vile, thrice damned personal seat licenses!!! And if the Wilfs don’t want to pay rent to the state, city or country, let them PAY FOR THE WHOLE THING!

Rat fink, stinkin’ deal, and it doesn’t even have a retractable roof so the team could enjoy one of the best home field advantages in the whole sport! And I thought the sides were supposed to be reflective and bright, not some kind of flat, dark gray, even if the shape is still cool.

NOT that I’m bitter, oh, heavens no.

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