NFL: Minnesota Vikings break ground on new stadium
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 04/12/13 11:46am
The Minnesota Vikings held a ground breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on their stunning new stadium, which they will move into for the start of the 2016 NFL season.
The Vikings will play away from their downtown Minneapolis venue for the next two years while their current Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome home is torn down and their striking new venue is built right next door.
Around $975 million will be spent on creating one of the most futuristic-looking stadia around, with the 65,000-seat stadium having a unique peaking look from the outside whilst incorporating the largest transparent roof in America.
The huge 1.7 million square foot facility also has huge see-through doors which open out into a three-acre plaza and provide views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline, but despite the vast structure, the Vikings say fans will also be closer to the field than in any other NFL stadium.
"This is a monumental day for the Vikings, our fans, and the entire State of Minnesota," said Vikings Owner Mark Wilf.
"We are grateful for the hundreds of hours of hard work that have been committed to this project by so many people. Today we have a chance to celebrate putting thousands of people back to work in building one of the best facilities in the world."
As well as hosting the Vikings NFL team, the stadium will be a multi-use facility for baseball and soccer as well as other community events and concerts - while it could even one day host a Super Bowl with Minnesota already stating some time ago they would consider bidding for the big game.
"We strongly believe this stadium will host a future Super Bowl and are designing it in a way to accommodate the big game," director of corporate communications Jeff Anderson said in a Q&A earlier this year.
This past May, Super Bowl 50 in 2016 was awarded to San Francisco and Super Bowl 51 in 2017 was awarded to Houston. We have submitted an early bid to host a Super Bowl in the subsequent years of 2018, 2019 or 2020 and have begun discussions with Meet Minneapolis, Convention & Visitors Bureau, in order to assemble a more comprehensive formal bid that will be presented to the NFL in 2014."
Debate over a new Vikings stadium has been going on for some time, and it was even mooted that the team could move away from Minnesota if an agreement was not found.
Although everyone is not totally pleased with the allocation of public money to build the new stadium, if a number of big events, possibly including the Super Bowl, can be brought in that would help appease the doubters.
"This is a special day that will go down in Minnesota history," said star running back Adrian Peterson at the ceremony. "It's going to be exciting for the state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis and I'm looking forward to it."
Peterson is not so pleased with the new arrangements for the Vikings for the next two season as they will play at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium during the 2014 and 2015 seasons - an outdoor facility.
"I'm not so pleased about having to play outdoors in the cold for the next two years!" reigning MVP Peterson joked.
More information on the new stadium can be found on the team's website www.vikings.com