The City of Minneapolis is allowing the Vikings to sell alcohol at Commons Park, a 4.2-acre gathering space outside of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Vikings Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley says that the Vikings' desire to sell alcohol at the space is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but instead is in response to the lack of gathering and tailgating options around the stadium.
“The biggest issue is the lack of fan gathering spaces and disappearing tailgating opportunities — a time-honored tradition for the Vikings fans in the days of yore.” Bagley told the Star Tribune.
Selling alcohol in the park makes sense as tailgating lots have succumbed to more office buildings and apartment complexes in downtown Minneapolis. With fans not having many places to gather before games or celebrate after, the Vikings could be running into a profitable adventure outside their stadium.
“Obviously, it’s an evolving landscape for tailgating over the last few years,” Jeff Anderson, president of the team's corporate strategies, said in 2018. “We know it’s an important tradition and we want to continue to offer it in some form.”
The other benefit to having this decision now is the unknown nature of the 2020 season. The Vikings' schedule has already been released, but due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's unknown how many fans, if any, will be allowed inside U.S. Bank Stadium.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio theorized that the NFL could allow fans to congregate at Commons Park and help the Vikings make up for the massive loss of revenue on game days if fans are banned from attending.
The Vikings have not announced a plan to sell alcohol in Commons Park, but it should help ease the sting of any alteration that may occur this fall.