Minnesota Vikings fans will have to wait until next year to see the team play in person.
The Vikings on Wednesday said, "after much consideration" they will "no longer pursue" having more than 250 fans at U.S. Bank Stadium for the remainder of the 2020 regular season due to surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Minnesota.
The Vikings have four home games left this season – they host the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 22, the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 29, the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 6 and the Chicago Bears on Dec. 20.
"While we have worked hard to develop a safe and responsible plan to bring back a limited number of fans, our decisions have been based on medical guidance with public health as the top priority," a statement from the team says. "We take seriously Minnesota’s rising COVID infection rates and increasing hospitalizations and believe closing the final four home games to fans is the right decision to help protect our community."
The team says it has missed the "energy and passion" fans bring on game day, but it looks forward to welcoming fans back next season.
In order to be able to bring fans back into the stadium, the Vikings "strongly encourage everyone in Minnesota to take the necessary precautions to minimize the spread of this virus by wearing face coverings, practicing proper social distancing and limiting social gatherings," the statement said.
On Wednesday – a day after Gov. Tim Walz announced new restrictions on bars, restaurants and social gatherings to curb the spread of the virus – the Minnesota Department of Health reported 4,900 more COVID-19 cases and 56 additional deaths. Meanwhile, the state reported a record-high number of COVID-related hospitalizations, with 1,299 hospitalized, including 282 people in the intensive care unit.
Of the 32 NFL teams, about 20 are allowing at least some fans into their home stadiums as of Nov. 7, per ESPN. They are:
- Miami Dolphins - capacity restricted to 13,000 fans
- Baltimore Ravens - in Week 8, the team allowed more than 4,000 fans into the game, with plans to increase that number (the first time more than 250 people were allowed at the stadium)
- Cincinnati Bengals - capacity restricted to 12,000 fans
- Cleveland Browns - capacity restricted to 12,000 fans
- Pittsburgh Steelers - capacity restricted to 5,500 fans
- Houston Texans - capacity restricted to 13,300 fans (about 20%)
- Indianapolis Colts - capacity restricted to 12,500 fans
- Jacksonville Jaguars - capacity restricted to 16,791 fans (about 25%)
- Tennessee Titans - capacity restricted to 21% of the stadiums 69,143 capacity
- Denver Broncos - capacity restricted to 5,700 fans
- Kansas City Chiefs - capacity restricted to 16,000 fans (about 22%)
- Dallas Cowboys - capacity restricted to 25%
- Philadelphia Eagles - capacity restricted to 7,500 people (about 5,500-6,000 fans)
- Washington Football Team - capacity restricted to 3,200 fans
- Detroit Lions - capacity restricted to 500 friends and family in Week 8
- Atlanta Falcons - capacity restricted to a "very limited number" of fans
- Carolina Panthers - capacity restricted to 5,240 fans
- New Orleans Saints - capacity restricted to 6,000 for November games; 15,000 for games in December
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - capacity restricted to 25%
- Arizona Cardinals - capacity restricted to 4,200 fans