The Minnesota Vikings are finally going to be able to make use of their new home, U.S. Bank Stadium, starting today. The team’s Friday practice will take place at their new facility, and the team has stated that the five large glass doors on the stadium’s west side will be open during that practice.
Does that mean that the doors will be open for Sunday’s exhibition opener against the San Diego Chargers? Based on the weather forecast for Sunday, it would seem to be a perfect time to try it out.
According to the folks from Weather Underground, the weather at kickoff time in the Twin Cities will see temperatures in the high 70s and winds out of the south at about ten miles an hour. If the team is going to experiment with opening the doors, the conditions probably aren’t going to get more ideal than that.
The best part is that, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, nobody knows what’s going to go on with the winds if the doors are open for Sunday’s game.
Even Vikings executives haven’t seen all five doors open, so they can’t yet say how the air will flow through them and whether it will affect play on the field. Will the wind whip? Swirl?
“It could be all five doors are open and there’s no effect,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. “There’s a lot of things we don’t know about.”
Spielman said he expects kickers and punters to be most affected by air currents from open doors. The field is sunken — thus protected from winds — so only the high-flying footballs are likely to catch wind.
For Sunday’s game, as will be the case during the regular season, the team will have to decide 90 minutes prior to kickoff whether the doors will be open or closed, and the doors must be in that position 60 minutes prior to kickoff. The doors can only go from open to closed during a game if any threatening weather moves in, such as high winds or thunderstorms.
The Vikings will also play at U.S. Bank Stadium on Thursday night for their preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams. The forecast for game time on Thursday looks very similar to the forecast for Sunday, despite Thursday’s game taking place seven hours later (7 PM Central time as opposed to noon). With any luck, the team will be able to open up the doors for both of those games.