MINNEAPOLIS – Football is back in Minnesota, just in a different location.

TCF Bank Stadium will be home to the Minnesota Vikings for the next two years while the team's new stadium is constructed.

So consider Friday's pre-season game the dress rehearsal.

"I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to it. The dome was great, a lot of good memories. But this is going to be fun," said fan Grant Sparks of Chanhassen.

It will be fun for Vikings fans, yet still unfamiliar.

"We got to park about five blocks away. I'm sure close to game time it's going to be pretty hectic," said one fan as he walked into the stadium.

It is no secret, parking will be tough. Several hours before the game even started, spots were hard to come by.

"I couldn't find a parking spot this morning. All the ramps were full and everything," said bartender Kevin Sprenger, who works at nearby Stub and Herb's.

Sprenger was late to work because of it, but he thinks the light rail will be a big help to fans. That's why city officials are recommending people ditch the car for the train. But if you have to drive, get to the stadium early and have patience when leaving, they said.


It will be crowded, but that's exactly what businesses that surround the stadium have been looking forward to since the Vikings announced the team would be playing in the same location as the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

"We have almost every person who works here working (Friday night)," said Sprenger.

Those employees will be met with a very high excitement level. Fans started tailgating several hours before kickoff, including Ernie Graeber and Bernie Nelson.

The two have been friends since they were young growing up in Grand Rapids.

If Friday is truly the dress rehearsal for the next two years, Ernie and Bernie have been dressed for the last half century. Bernie has been a season ticket holder since 1964, he said.

"We put in our time in Met Stadium in the cold stadium, with snowmobile suits and stadium blankets. So inside is kind of nice to play in," said Graeber.