Vikings to Replace U.S. Bank Stadium Turf; Want $62M from Taxpayers for Security Upgrades

Rendering of plaza in front of U.S. Bank Stadium after proposed changes

The Minnesota Vikings and U.S. Bank Stadium have grabbed headlines as plans to replace the current turf with a different artificial surface and fortify the stadium’s security perimeter are underway. The multifaceted enhancements aim to revolutionize both safety standards and fan experiences inside the state-owned facility.

U.S. Bank Stadium Turf Upgrade

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) recently greenlit a project to replace the existing synthetic turf at U.S. Bank Stadium. The decision stems from concerns over injury data linked to the current slit-film turf.

According to reports compiled by the NFL and NFL Players Association, this turf type has been associated with a higher incidence of lower extremity non-contact injuries. In addition to the concerning research, the Vikings suffered a non contact injury this season to star wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

The forthcoming upgrade, estimated at $1.3 million, will introduce a monofilament version named Act Global Xtreme Turf DX. This shift to advanced turf technology aligns with a prime focus on player health and safety, as emphasized by Vikings’ executive vice president, Steve Poppen.

The move signifies a strategic commitment to provide a safer playing field for athletes, ensuring an environment conducive to optimal performance and reduced injury risks.

U.S. Bank Stadium Security Perimeter Enhancement

Simultaneously, U.S. Bank Stadium is undergoing a significant security revamp, with the second phase of the enhanced security perimeter expected to cost a staggering $62 million.

This substantial investment, the MSFA says, will allow U.S. Bank Stadium to meet the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security anti-terrorism standards, emphasizing the paramount importance of safeguarding attendees while maintaining accessibility and mobility within the venue.

The fortified perimeter project, overseen by the MSFA, will encompass critical elements such as the western entrance, light-rail station, Medtronic plaza, and skyway connection. The objective, according to Populous architect Tyler Robertson is not merely to fortify security of U.S. Bank Stadium, but also to “craft an inviting outdoor public space that serves as the stadium’s new front door”.

The enhancements are supposed to offer seamless, safe access into events that draw massive crowds (Taylor Swift concerts, Vikings games, etc). Improve safety and enhance the fan experience so people are more likely to return in the future.

U.S. Bank Stadium Financial Backing and Maintenance

The grand scale of these projects necessitates significant financial backing. Chairman Michael Vekich acknowledged the funding gap, stating that the MSFA will seek legislative support to bridge the financial shortfall.

How much will they ask from tax-payers, you ask? All $62 million of it. The MSFA is requesting that the state pay for the entire $62 million outdoor security and fan experience enhancements. The new field turf is being paid for with money out of a regular maintenance fund that both the Vikings and state of Minnesota contribute to.

Chairman Michael Vekich said the MSFA doesn’t have the money to fund phase two of the perimeter, which was initially estimated at $48 million, so it will ask the Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz for the $62 million.

Rochelle Olson – Star Tribune

Outlook for U.S. Bank Stadium

With the turf replacement set to commence in early 2024 and the security perimeter enhancements scheduled for late 2024, these initiatives underline the commitment to evolve and ensure the sustained excellence of U.S. Bank Stadium. The holistic approach to safety, accessibility, and fan experience positions the stadium as a benchmark for modern sports facilities nationwide.

Dominique Clare | Minnesota Sports Fan

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