A fan's guide to Vikings games at the 'U'

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The Vikings will open their first full season at TCF Bank Stadium tonight with a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. Multiple news outlets have provided fans with a guide to navigating the Vikings home for the next two seasons.

Tim Harlow, who writes for the Star Tribune blog The Drive, gives fans a transportation-centric guide to navigating The Bank this evening. Marcus Fuller of the Pioneer Press also gives fans a guide to TCF Bank Stadium.

Public Transportation

Transportation seems to be one of the most pressing topics when it comes to fans and TCF Bank Stadium. The two main options for getting to the stadium are driving and taking the Metro Transit Green Line.

Fans can take the Green Line to the Stadium Village Station, which is right across the street from TCF Bank Stadium. The Green Line can be accessed from the Blue Line, which goes from the Mall of America to Target Field, or from the Northstar Line, which connects with the Green Line at Target Field.

Metro Transit buses 2, 3, 6 and 16 also stop near TCF Bank Stadium.

Driving

Getting to TCF Bank Stadium for a Vikings game via car could be a challenge this evening, as Harlow points out. The two main exits to the U from major freeways, I-94 at Huron Blvd. and I-35W at University Avenue/4th Street, are expected to be jammed.

Some roads around campus will also be restricted for the game. Part of Oak Street near TCF Bank Stadium will be closed for a fan party.

One problem specifically for tonight is a major road closure. Beginning at midnight, southbound I-35W will be closed from Hiawatha Avenue/Hwy. 55 to 46th Street.

Parking

Parking around TCF Bank Stadium will be at a premium for non-season ticket holders. Both Harlow and Fuller suggest fans park by the Metrodome and take the train to Stadium Village.

The University of Minnesota has a complete list of parking options for fans.

Tailgating and other pregame fun

Tailgating is limited to designated surface lots (Discovery Lot, Gateway Lot, Ski-U-Mah Lot, Victory Lot, Lots C33, C37, C55-56, C58-59, all on the East Bank; Lot C86 and Lot 94 on the West Bank, and Lot S108 in St. Paul when the State Fair is not in session). The tailgating festivities can begin at 1 p.m. today.

The Vikings will also have a fun zone for fans on Oak Street, as well as a pregame party with alcohol at the McNamara Alumni Center across the street from the stadium.

Security rules

This is the second year of the new NFL bag policy. No purses will be allowed, but fans can bring in a clear plastic bag no bigger than 12 by 6 by 12 inches.

Inside the Stadium

Once inside the stadium, fans will notice some nice upgrades from the Metrodome to TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings put $6.6 million into TCF Bank Stadium, which includes putting in heated turf for those cold-weather games. The scoreboard at TCF Bank Stadium is almost 10 times larger than the one at the Metrodome. The Bank also has more restrooms, larger concourses and a wider selection of food than the Vikings previous home.

New to TCF Bank Stadium this year, alcohol sales will be allowed around the entire stadium. Sales will end at the end of the third quarter, however.

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