One of the parts of the new Minnesota Vikings' stadium that has not been completely settled yet is the state of the roof. The $975 million deal that was signed into law on Monday calls for a fixed roof stadium, but it was said that if Zygi Wilf wanted to put a retractable roof on the stadium, it would have to come out of the team's pockets. It appears that the team is strongly considering doing just that.
Q. So you'll have a retractable roof?
ZW: "Well, I don't know."
MW: "We're going to try to get the maximum number of features within the budgets. ... We're going to want to make it something special. And to the extent retractability can get there, we're going to try to do it."
One of the rumors that has been circulating lately is that the Wilf family wants to try to attract Major League Soccer to Minneapolis. . .and, indeed, MLS has said that with this new stadium, the Twin Cities moves to the top of the list of cities to potentially gain an MLS franchise.
So how would a retractable roof affect the Vikings? It appears that decision will be up to a combination of the owners and/or the National Football League. There doesn't appear to be a set of hard-and-fast rules for when retractable roof stadiums can open the roof up and when it needs to be closed.
For example, Lucas Oil Stadium has a rule saying that the roof will be closed when the temperature is below 40 degrees, while Reliant Stadium in Houston has one saying that the roof will be closed if the temperature is below 50 or above 80. As far as actual, official NFL rules, the Arizona Cardinals have the following info on their website concerning University of Phoenix Stadium:
The Cardinals are required to follow all NFL policies in effect for retractable roof stadiums. In accordance with NFL policy, the following guidelines must be followed:
The roof can only be closed during the game if rain or other hazardous weather conditions develop or are anticipated. The only exception is that the roof will not be closed for rain in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, or prior to or during any overtime period.
If the roof is closed at the start of the game or during the game, it cannot be opened for the remainder of the game.
If the decision is made to open the roof, the roof must be open no later than the time that the teams take the field for pre-game warm-ups.
So it appears that what the NFL's rules govern is basically that if the roof is open when the game starts, it has to stay open, and if it's closed it has to stay closed, as well as provisions for inclement weather. Those are the general guidelines, but it appears that each individual stadium can establish their own set of rules for when the roof will be open and when it will be closed.
It will be interesting to see how, exactly, the team will handle the roof situation if they do have the ability to open and close the roof of the new stadium.