New tailgating plan for Vikings games moves forward

The yellow area shows the new tailgating zone. The red shows the previous zone. The purple lots are eligible for tailgating. Map courtesy of the City of Minneapolis

A new smaller tailgating zone for Vikings has cleared a City Council committee.

The zone includes eight surface parking lots near the new Vikings stadium. The Vikings have been working with neighborhood groups and the city for more than two years to craft a plan for tailgating — a challenging task given that new development has reduced the supply of parking lots available for pre-game festivities.

It’s up to the owners of the parking lots to allow tailgating. They are also responsible for security, cleanup and providing temporary toilets for tailgaters.

The new Vikings stadium is scheduled to open in July.

Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs and stadium development for the Vikings, told the Council’s Community Development & Regulatory Services on Tuesday that the team has worked with the community to reach consensus on the tailgating plan.

“Part of the game day experience is the tailgate experience — the time-honored tradition that started back in 1961 at the old Met Stadium parking lot and has continued ever since,” he said.

A number of fans also expressed support for the tailgating plan, including Steve Williams, Bobby and Steve’s Auto World’s senior partner.

“At the end of the day are we going to be less convenient on game day for people that don’t want to go to the game? I think so, but I’m a diehard Vikings fan, and I love the fact that the Wilfs blessed us with a $1 billion building on our end of town,” he said.

City Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3) said he’s optimistic the new tailgating plan will be successful.

“I very much look forward to working with both the residents in the ward and the fans in securing what I have no doubt will be a beautiful game-day atmosphere — that is enthusiastic, exciting and also respectful,” he said.

The full Council will vote on the plan May 27.