MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Vikings are kicking off their second season at US Bank Stadium, but many fans are already finding some big changes on game day, with fewer spots to tailgate.
With downtown parking at a premium, tailgaters in lots owned or leased by the Vikings were forced to kick off a bit later than normal.
"We usually show up, show up early and beg for forgiveness. Yep, we've been doing it for years."
But this year, this group had to find a different lot to raise their flag. It's no match for what's gone up in their old location.
"A crane… yep… which has been a sight out here since the stadium went up."
The Vikings say they welcome the economic development, but two former tailgate sites are now construction sites.
"We got our new stadium and they're all being gobbled up now."
A loss of nearly half the spots usually reserved for fun and games.
"It's a great thing for the city but it's really tough on tailgaters."
"I want to say it was about a week before the first preseason game and the Vikings finally came out and said something, of where spots are going to be available. So that was stressful. We didn't know what we were going to do."
For others, it's still a hot topic...
"You know, we just keep getting squeezed out."
Patrick Short says the Vikings told him they can no longer accommodate any large RV's or buses, so he and many others have flocked to first, come first served lots.
"We actually spent the night. We got here at like 1 in the morning and we slept here until, actually now."
"It'd be nice if they had a solution, even if the solution is a little farther away."
"It just feels like tailgating is kind of a lost art for the Vikings. They keep pushing us out."
The Vikings released the following statement on the issue:
For several years the Vikings have worked to ensure tailgating remains available despite the changing landscape near the stadium, and we continue to look for ways to accommodate those fans who want to participate in the tradition. This summer private development began that led to the loss of two surface lots previously used for tailgating (approximately 325 tailgating spaces). The Vikings continue to offer tailgating on four team-owned or leased lots (totaling approximately 400 spaces). Other private lot owners also continue to offer tailgating (Crooked Pint Ale House, for example, offers 250 spaces on a game-by-game basis).