Ten days ago (Sept. 27), Minnesota Vikings Chief Operating Officer Andrew Miller appeared on KFAN radio's pregame show and revealed a plan to bring more fans into U.S. Bank Stadium for future home games this season, but that goal won't be achieved by the time the Vikings next play in Minneapolis Oct. 18 against the Atlanta Falcons.
In a statement issued Tuesday morning, the Vikings said they "will not be in a position to host fans" for the Falcons game Oct. 18, "given the continued COVID infection rates in Minnesota."
The team cited the Minnesota Department of Health's guidelines that limit gathering capacity of indoor and outdoor events to 250 people, "and because of our continued prioritization of the health and safety of our fans, players, coaches, staff members and community."
There were 16,000 fans in attendance at Monday night's Chiefs-Patriots game in Kansas City, and numerous other teams around the NFL have allowed fans in stadiums with strict face mask and social distancing protocols in place.
The Vikings conducted a test run for such protocols during their Sept. 27 home game against the Titans, where 250 staff and family members were allowed in socially distanced pods in the lower bowl of U.S. Bank Stadium. That's what will happen again for the Oct. 18 game against Atlanta.
"We will again have up to 250 family members of Vikings personnel in attendance to further test our game day protocols and will continue to work with state and city officials in hopes of implementing our plan to safely host a limited number of fans later this season," the team's statement says.
The Oct. 18 game is Minnesota's only one at home in October. The rest will be played in November and December:
- Nov. 8: Lions
- Nov. 22: Cowboys
- Nov. 29: Panthers
- Dec. 6: Jaguars
- Dec. 20: Bears
"We've laid out a plan which we believe is safe and that we can bring people back in, and incrementally increase the number of fans over time throughout the course of the season," said Miller during his Sept. 27 radio interview.
Here's the list of teams that are allowing fans or plan to allow fans, via ESPN:
- Miami Dolphins: 11,075 fans (20% capacity)
- Baltimore Ravens: 250 immediate family members
- Cincinnati Bengals: 6,000 fans allowed in Oct. 25 game against the Browns
- Cleveland Browns: 12,000 fans allowed in Week 5 game against the Colts
- Houston Texans: 13,200 fans at Week 4 game against Vikings.
- Indianapolis Colts: 12,500 fans allowed at Oct. 18 game.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 16,791 fans (25% capacity)
- Tennessee Titans: Capacity to increase from 12.5% to 21% by November
- Denver Broncos: 5,700 fans allowed
- Kansas City Chiefs: 16,000 fans allowed
- Dallas Cowboys: Approximately 25% capacity
- Green Bay Packers: Might allow 10,000 to 12,000 fans beginning Nov. 1 (vs. Vikings)
- Atlanta Falcons: Undisclosed number of fans to be permitted at Oct. 11 game
- Carolina Panthers: 7% capacity allowed at large events in North Carolina
- New Orleans Saints: 750 team personnel/family members
- Tampa Bay Bucs: 25% capacity