"The Moss era in the late 1990s changed the fan base into a younger, more energetic" group that is "loud, enthusiastic and happy to be there." "The place is intense, as the dome allows fans" -- who do a great job of dressing all in purple" -- "to impact the decibel level to extremes, and thus, impact the game." On the other hand, Vike's crowds are "generally fair-weather," "dead silent when [the team] isn't performing well" and leaving "early if the score isn't close." Still, "every game sells out," but "like most NFL games, there are a lot of people who have had too much to drink." It all makes for an "atmosphere [that is] good before games," but "pretty bad after because of the outcomes."
5 out of 10
FOOD & SOUVENIRS
Soda (16 oz.)
Beer (16 oz.)
Expected Meal Cost
"Outside of the Metrodome, before games, there are some good stands set up by local restaurants." "Until recently, the food [inside] was pretty standard -- brats, dogs, pretzels and Miller Lite, [but] they've recently expanded a bit." "Famous Dave's BBQ is awesome for the beef brisket and barbecued pork," as well as a "BBQ chicken sandwich [that] is quite good." "Premium beer stands" and Papa John's Pizza "offer some relief" from an otherwise "old-school" menu, whose sole highlight is a "3/4-inch all-beef Dome dog with ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, relish and onions." Beyond those few frills, however, "there's nothing special about concessions" no better "than carnival food."
4 out of 10
"Getting into Minneapolis isn't too bad since the Metrodome is located in an area where several major highways come into downtown." "Traffic near the stadium is not awful, but it is generally congested" with people "trying to jam onto one-way streets" "searching for parking spots" "due to the fact that there is no one central parking area." "There are plenty of smaller lots near the stadium," but if you don't "arrive early enough or aren't willing to pay enough," you "better bring your walking shoes." While the "diversification of parking locations helps because not everyone is in line to get into the same parking lot," "in winter, a long walk to the Metrodome isn't fun, especially if you just paid $15 and have to walk eight blocks." A new "light-rail commuter system has improved traffic, but you can sit there for 30-plus minutes to get on the train and then you are packed in like sardines." Considering it can "take a half-hour to get to your car anyway" before jumping into the "brutal" traffic "out of downtown," perhaps squeezing into a train isn't so bad an option after all.
5 out of 10
"People would love to tailgate more," but "parking is so spread out, it's difficult to get a big party going consistently each week." Moreover, many of the lots once located around the Metrodome "have been developed with condos ... over the past 5-6 years." "The official lot" "moved about half-a-mile away behind the Target Center," and requires "a [free] bus or light rail to get back to the dome." "However, now that the Twins' news stadium is being built there," tailgating is even more "fragmented," forcing fans to set up "wherever they can park." "This is a sad legacy" for a fan base accustomed to "all-day barbecues at the old Metropolitan Stadium" and still "pack" available lots with "purple and gold flags," "blaring music" and "beer and brats" "even in the middle of winter when it's 10-below."
4 out of 10
Adrian Peterson :: David E. Klutho/SI
Record through Week 9
Players Worth Watching
Adrian Peterson (RB)
3 out of 10
The "stadium was built under budget and it shows" in the scarcity of "style, fan comfort and amenities." Seats, "many [of which] have poor or obstructed visibility," are "tiny" and offer "very little leg room." Concourses are "painfully narrow" and "too crowded." "Too few bathrooms" force fans to stand in "lines that reach deep into the concourse" to use "trough-style urinals [in the men's rooms]." And the "PA system is unintelligible." As unloved as the Metrodome function is, the form of a place fans alternately describe as "sterile," "unattractive," "cold," "a slab of concrete with a white hat" and "classically ugly" isn't held in much higher esteem. "On the positive side" -- and yes, there is a positive side -- "it is a dome, and that comes in handy when it's 1 degree outside." That makes "walking out of the stadium" "kind of interesting; when the doors open, [a gust] of air pushes you out the door." More good news comes in the "very good sight lines," although some feel "if you sit in the upper levels it's almost better to watch on TV." Perhaps the only thing preventing more fans from saying the dome "should burn" is a "sentimental" connection to a facility that saw the Twins win two World Series, hosted a Super Bowl and "several Final Four events." For many, though, this is still "the Yugo of stadiums."
2 out of 10
Situated on the "eastern edge" of downtown Minneapolis, the Metrodome is "surrounded by office buildings," a few bars catering to the fans" "and the obligatory strip club." Signs abound that this is "a neighborhood in transition:" "parking lots are disappearing for new lofts, many of the buildings are getting major facelifts" and "the new Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum are some pretty cool attractions." Clearly, this is an "urban environment," complete with "old warehouses and a hospital." "But safety is not an issue in the area," which also affords access to "the heart of downtown and its very good bar and restaurant scene ... if one cares to walk the eight or so blocks."
5 out of 10
What is it about Minneapolis that brings out the devil in all of its team owners? Carl Pohlad was so cheap he almost contracted the Twins voluntarily. Glen Taylor has given GM Kevin McHale so much rope, the Timberwolves mismanaged away a superstar in Kevin Garnett who wanted to stay. And the Vikings have demonstrated a combination of both questionable decision-making and a tight wallet. For all of the support Vikings fans have offered in a stadium built to be demolished, it's easy to empathize with their discontent with the Metrodome. Fans shouldn't have to be happy merely with the presence of NFL football, not when they're paying $71 a ticket for the privilege. They deserve more, or at least a lot more than what the Metrodome offers.