TCF Bank Stadium set for Vikings’ arrival

The Vikings will play their first preseason game on Aug. 8 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Alan Wolf, assistant superintendent of The Motz Group, waters the field at TCF Bank Stadium on Aug. 2, 2014. Natural sod was installed for a soccer doubleheader.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Alan Wolf, assistant superintendent of The Motz Group, waters the field at TCF Bank Stadium on Aug. 2, 2014. Natural sod was installed for a soccer doubleheader.

Joe Perovich

In the past year, TCF Bank Stadium has been the site of football, hockey and soccer games, as well as the University of Minnesota homecoming and MLB All-Star Game concerts.

This weekend, the venue will get a new inhabitant when the Minnesota Vikings host the Oakland Raiders on Friday in a preseason game at TCF, their home for at least the next two seasons as they await their new stadium.

Gophers head coach Jerry Kill said at Big Ten Media Days that he has been in touch with representatives from the Vikings “quite a bit” but that he wasn’t in on how they were going to adapt the stadium.

Kill called Vikings’ general manager Rick Spielman a good friend and said “on the football side of it, things have been good.”

Upgrades to the stadium include auxiliary seating and heating coils underneath the new turf.

“I think anytime somebody improves your facility, you take advantage of it,” Kill said.

After the Metrodome’s roof collapsed in 2010, the Vikings played one game at TCF and quarterback Brett Favre suffered a concussion after being knocked to the hard turf. 

This time around, the Vikings have coils to avoid a situation like that.

The Vikings play longer into the winter than the Gophers, who will see less of an effect from the coils as they play their last home game in mid-November.

Last year, the Gophers took on Wisconsin during a frigid Saturday in late November, and running back David Cobb said at Media Days that the ground “was like concrete” during that game.

“People are excited that there’s an actual heated field. Everybody’s tired of their toes freezing, so we’re excited about that,” safety Cedric Thompson said at Media Days.

Though the Gophers and Vikings will share the same field, their schedules don’t overlap. Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner said he doesn’t think the two teams will have an issue sharing the field.

They’ll only play back-to-back once, when the Gophers host Northwestern Oct. 11 and the Vikings host the Detroit Lions the following day.

“It’s not going to be a huge problem when we have back-to-back games [because] our goal is to turn the field over as quickly as possible after the game anyways. It won’t be easy, but we’ll get it done,” said Gophers senior associate athletics director for strategic communications Chris Werle.

TCF Bank Stadium’s playing surface transitioned from artificial turf to grass this past Saturday to host two soccer games. After the Manchester City vs. Olympiakos friendly, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini voiced his concerns about the pitch.

“I said it was high-risk, but they worked hard on it to improve it, and fortunately nothing happened with an injury,” he said.

The contest also offered fans a chance to test out the new bleacher-style seats in the west end-zone plaza.

Soccer fan Greg DeYoung said the vantage point is a hidden gem that won’t be a secret for much longer.

“Between the proximity to the field and easy access to vendors, it’s an untapped entity,” he said. “I’m afraid this is the lowest price I’ll ever be paying for these seats.”


Betsy Helfand contributed to this report.