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Explorer sneaks in to Vikings stadium, takes 'illicit' photo tour

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A photographer took what's being billed as an "illicit tour" of the new Vikings stadium construction site recently - he snuck into the site in downtown Minneapolis one evening last month and took a number of photos that are catching quite a bit of attention.

Scott Heins, who describes himself as a "writer, photojournalist, and urban explorer born in Minnesota and living in New York City," wrote about his adventure for Deadspin, an online sports magazine.

Gaining access to the construction site was "shockingly easy," Heins wrote, as he described how he pushed against the chain link fence in one spot and opened up a gap that was large enough for him to crawl through.

Heins described the unfinished stadium as a gray shell; the various levels and concourses are only partway complete and don't yet resemble an actual football stadium.

At one point, Heins decided to get a view from higher up. So he climbed over a temporary barrier surrounding one of the cranes, and scaled the crane to about 20 stories above the ground, he wrote on Deadspin.

"I felt exhilarated and exposed," he said. "Any watchful security guard or nearby condo resident with some binoculars could have easily spotted me and called in police."

But apparently no one did spot him, since he stayed as long as he wanted and left unscathed.

The photos Heins posted are quite stunning. But the folks who control the construction site, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, are not very happy about the stunt.

The MSFA and Mortenson Construction said in an emailed statement late Wednesday afternoon that they are aware of the "trespassing incident" which occurred after hours, once workers had left and locked the gates of the site.

“Trespassing on construction sites is illegal and very dangerous," said John Wood, senior vice president at Mortenson. "We take this situation very seriously, and we are evaluating all options with local authorities to have this individual face consequences for his unlawful entry to the site and to further increase security after hours.”

Heins's visit to the stadium is somewhat reminiscent of the fatal accident earlier this month at an abandoned grain elevator in Minneapolis. Three people decided to climb the old Bunge elevator in the Como neighborhood on Saturday June 6, when one of them slipped and fell to her death.

So-called " urban explorers" are attracted to vacant buildings like the grain elevator, according to Bridgeland News. But trespassing to explore these abandoned towers throughout the city can be dangerous.

Construction of the new Vikings stadium is more than halfway complete, and the nearly $1 billion facility is on track to open in time for the Vikings' 2016 season.

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