Vikings stadium seamlessly transitions to basketball hub

PFT

Contrary to popular belief and a football-first shtick, I periodically enjoy other sports. On Saturday, I very much enjoyed college basketball, because Florio Jr. and I made a bucket-list trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, to take in the sport that started in 1891 with a pair of peach baskets.

Making the Final Four more attractive in 2019 was the fact that the games are being played in Minnesota, a place that we’ve visited four times in less than three years and that occupies the top spot on the short list of places to which I’d move if I ever leave West Virginia, which I’ll never do.

After a late Friday night dinner at Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul (probably my favorite place to eat, anywhere), Jr. and I got a good night’s sleep and then headed over to U.S. Bank Stadium, where a football venue had been converted to college basketball’s epicenter, at least for a weekend.

With due respect to all other NFL facilities (and acknowledging the fact that new stadiums will soon be opened in L.A. and Las Vegas), U.S. Bank Stadium currently is the league’s best venue. From the unique design to the natural light to the sea of purple seats to the soaring, slanted roof, to the many bells and whistles tucked into the nooks and crannies of the structure, there’s nothing like it.

The fact that the stadium transitioned so seamlessly to an oversized basketball arena makes it even more impressive. All of the windows were covered to facilitate proper lighting for basketball, the purple seats in the lower bowl were replaced with a swarm of black folding chairs, the one-of-a-kind roof was concealed by a Close Encounters mother ship spreadsheet that hovered over the floor. The end result was that the football stadium didn’t feel like a football stadium, at all.

Of course, some football principles trickled into one of the games, with a controversial foul call (and an even more controversial missed double dribble) allowing Virginia to steal a berth in the championship game from Auburn. In the building, we had no idea what was happening; we thought the game was over, and then we noticed after 30 seconds or so that the teams weren’t leaving the court.

And then Kyle Guy quickly drained a pair of free throws with a confident-to-the-brink-of-smug smirk to tie the game, before Auburn called a time out. (For a few seconds, we thought that Guy’s foot had been on the line for the last shot, resulting in only two free throws; that’s one of the realities of watching a game in person without access to radio or TV commentary.)

The timeout didn’t affect Guy’s affect. He drained the game winner with that same skinny-guy swagger.

There surely will be endless debates about the events that led to the Auburn loss, including the question of whether the game’s replay rules should allow a double dribble to be called after the fact. In the aftermath of Rams-Saints, I’m glad this isn’t my fight. Instead, we simply enjoyed the second Saturday basketball game played at a football stadium, and now it’s time to return with full focus on the sport that pays the bills.

28 responses to “Vikings stadium seamlessly transitions to basketball hub

  1. I went to US Bank Stadium for the Monster Jam last year, and it really is a remarkable venue. From the NFL hard camera side, the opposite sideline seats slide all the way back flush with the luxury suite ring, opening the floor to a large square shape for Gophers baseball. The perk of that for Monster Jam is that the trucks garage was where the seats originally were, so the entire football field area was a sandbox for the drivers.

    The only bad sides I noticed with the stadium was the shoddy build quality, as there were already leaks, falling panels, lettering that had fallen off above the entrance doors, etc. Made me wonder if the gold faucets in the luxury suites were functioning properly, and I’m sure they were.

  2. A Vikings fan calling U.S. Bank Stadium “the leagues best venue”

    Too funny.

    Glad you and your son enjoyed the Final 4.

  3. Our good neighbors to the west have built another fine structure–the Twin Cities has many of those.

    Too bad they can’t build a championship football team!

    Yeah, I know, cheap shot for a laugh. It’s been a humbling week in Packerland–rightfully so–just needed to jab our friends across the St. Croix.

    Well done on the Final Four MN!

  4. The eastern border of Minnesota should be closed. We are losing too many Wisconsin people fleeing to Minnesota. Sure, they are oppressed and looking for a better life. But, who’s going to buy all the left over beer here in Wisconsin?

  5. The next built NFL stadium will probably a better stadium with more perks, but for now it’s the best. Been to 14 Vikings games there.Lambeau field is more historic, but dam those aluminum benches suck.

  6. “The eastern border of Minnesota should be closed. We are losing too many Wisconsin people fleeing to Minnesota.”

    Not the impression anyone would get watching at the I-94 bridge to Hudson on Friday afternoons. It’s a river of Minnesota license plates flowing East.

  7. If you like freezing you rear end off in the winter and swatting mosquitoes with a wiffle ball bat in the summertime is your thing, then Minnesota is the place to be. I know, I grew up in Iowa on the Mississippi River. Oh and the Mayflies taste real good on your burgers.

  8. Great job utilizing the stadium via multiple venues bringing in lots of tax dollars & jobs to help the community & the whole area. Beautiful stadium, love the natural light for the Vikings games too.

  9. I love the exterior design. The interior is nothing special. It’s a cookie-cutter concrete bowl, with too many difficult-to-navigate seats stuffed into it, topped off with a glorious, glassy, shiny, translucent “cover.”

  10. mnrasslinggovjesse says:
    April 7, 2019 at 12:25 pm
    “The eastern border of Minnesota should be closed. We are losing too many Wisconsin people fleeing to Minnesota.”
    Not the impression anyone would get watching at the I-94 bridge to Hudson on Friday afternoons. It’s a river of Minnesota license plates flowing East.

    —————————–

    Of course, I-94 through Wisconsin is the quickest way for Minnesotans to get to Chicago for a weekend getaway.

  11. cheeseisfattening says:
    April 7, 2019 at 1:07 pm
    And at the very same time Lambeau filed seamlessly transitioned to a 4H dairy cow judging hub.
    ____________

    No, the only thing I’ve seen Lambeau Field hosting in the near future is a Paul McCartney concert in June and then the focus will be back on football.

  12. US Bank stadium is best in the league. Probably best in the world. Definitely world class and a great venue for a variety of events – mostly football of course.

  13. I haven’t been to all the leagues stadiums but have been to quite a few. I toured US Bank stadium and attended the Saints/Vikings game since dubbed “The Minneapolis Miracle”. It is a phenomenal venue and definitely one of, if not the best, in the league at this time. The atmosphere in the building that day was electric. I doubt I’ll be at a game that loud and exciting ever again. Any football fan would enjoy attending a game at US Bank Stadium.

  14. And just like the Super Bowl, when the wrong team was there in the Rams because of a muffed call by the refs, the wrong team in Virginia is in the national championship. Auburn was robbed in a far more egregious call then what happened in the Saints game.

  15. I was wondering how the heck they hung that scoreboard over the floor. It’s a great venue to watch a football game — great sightlines; however, the commenter above is right, they could have done better with the concourses.

  16. Some salty packer fans can’t even acknowledge what most do easily. That US Bank is a great stadium for football and more.And it should be for that price tag but it is.
    I also enjoyed the Mancini’s Char house mention Mike.

  17. Do you think the most impressive stadiums are in the US? Think again. Bleachers are common at unbelievable international venues that would blow both Lambeau and US Bank out of the water. Soft people like it covered up and cozy indoors with two cup holders and butt-formed molded seats but don’t assume real sports fans need it or want it. Why not just stay home and watch on TV?

  18. stellarperformance says:
    April 8, 2019 at 9:23 am
    Do you think the most impressive stadiums are in the US? Think again. Bleachers are common at unbelievable international venues that would blow both Lambeau and US Bank out of the water. Soft people like it covered up and cozy indoors with two cup holders and butt-formed molded seats but don’t assume real sports fans need it or want it. Why not just stay home and watch on TV?
    —————————-
    Milwaukee has the only baseball stadium with a roof out of all teams in the AL & NL Central – hypocritical much?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!