People in Minnesota are already struggling for words to describe ugliness of new Vikings stadium

Sure, you’ve seen renderings of the Minnesota Vikings‘ new stadium set to open this fall. But unless you live in the Twin Cities, you probably haven’t seen it with your own eyes — Pioneer Press columnist Joe Soucheray has, though, and he’s happy to describe it for you:

That stadium gives off a dark vibe.  Sheathed in black. Knife-edged. Towering.


No, ugly is too quick to the keyboard. Not charming. That’s it. It is not charming. It looks like a hangar for the bat-winged flying machines of evil alien forces. It was supposed to resemble a Viking ship, I thought, but the only vessel shape that comes to mind is a bloated Noah’s Ark, and I am sure the architects and the Wilfs didn’t imagine that.

“Bat-winged flying machines of evil alien forces” — now there’s what the XFL needed to stay in business.

Here’s the latest image of the stadium, via the Vikings’ construction webcam. Post your own fun descriptors in comments!


101 comments on “People in Minnesota are already struggling for words to describe ugliness of new Vikings stadium

  1. I have nothing to add really, but I’ll always appreciate a gratuitous, out-of-left-field swipe at the XFL.

    • Ironically, they would not put in the bird safe glass for aesthetic reasons. I call it “the bird” to reflect my feeling toward the disregard for protection of migratory birds along the largest flyaway on the cintenent. We are not just talking pigeons and Robbins here.

      • The glass panels that they went with, are individually replaceable and each one has a layer of plastic on the outside, that is bubble like, and non-reflective, so the birds shouldn’t have any problems seeing the milkiness of the plastic.

        • Please share your reference that a film was placed on the glass. I understand 3m was only testing new films that may or may not work. The glass is still very highly reflective and the sports authority was dead set against anything that would ruin the aesthetics of the glass view. Im still calling it “the bird”.

      • Robbins?
        Obviously a real concern for the flying species indeed…

      • *Robbins ?
        Obviously a real concern for the flying species indeed. ..

  2. Neil, that thing is an eyesore. Very gross looking when coming in from the North. Looks like a lot of sunlight can get in there. So, that is good. Plus, the city is looking to reap over $300 million dollars by hosting the Subpar Bowl!

    I think this is where Airwolf helicopter retired to!!

    • Reap $300 million on the Super Bowl?
      Not likely, I am told more like $125-$150 million.
      Plus you know how much the host city has to raise to get the NFL to bring them the Super Bowl? The North Texas SB Committee in 2010 raised $40 million dollars. Even with those numbers, Minneapolis still stands to benefit.

      • You are told wrong — it’s more like $5m in added tax receipts:

  3. I always said that I’d watch the XFL the minute they installed alligator pits on the 20-yard line.

  4. I like the name. “Stadium.”

    Without it, I could easily have thought, yeah, hanger for some evil alien things.

  5. that looks about 20 stories…didn’t Mark Cuban say he wanted to build an arena 20 stories tall?

  6. Cuban said 20 stories *in the air*. Presumably it would be taller on top of that.

  7. The views on the light rail ride into and out of the city do deliver the Viking helmet and bow of a ship impressions the architects were after, so you gotta give them credit. The criticisms are a little overblown IMO. At least it’s not a toilet bowl like some arenas.

  8. I think they were inspired by the opening of the 1980s TV series “Matt Houston.”

  9. Somebody say XFL? I LOVED the XFL!
    I remember the QB for the New york team. A brilliant playmaker:
    1) Take the snap.
    2) Wrap up the ball.
    3) Get tackled.

  10. The artsy Borg finally got the chance to design the spaceship they’ve always wanted?

  11. Really, out of all the columnists in the 2 twin cities rags, you choose Joe Doucheray.

    Why not just ask what Katherine Kristen thinks?

  12. Henry Nailed it. A polished Jawa crawler is the first thing I thought of.…1654.10599.0.10711.….0…1.1.64.img..17.4.1164.iKT-UajAMGg

  13. I don’t see the Viking ship thing, but I kinda like it.

    Looking at the interior cam – if those are retracting seats on one side of the lower level, I wanna see the fans try the RFK Bounce at the first game.

  14. From that angle it looks like the head of a decepticon. I mean that’s clearly an evil robot face on the right.

    The only question is what it transforms into.

  15. I would be more afraid that in the right light with the sun at the right angle the reflection of that giant mirror would blind someone.

  16. I think the design is cool, at least its not boring. It reminds me a bit of
    our Royal Ontario Museum which someone rated as the world’s
    ugliest building

  17. The Metrodome roof had problems with snow load. With the new stadium, it appears all the snow will roll off onto the adjacent freeway.

  18. Despite my comment on its’ looking like a Jawa crawler, I actually do think its cool. At least its different.

    I still can’t see what people see in our local Levi’s stadium. It looks like a it was designed by committee using an erector set.

  19. Seeing the billion dollar monstrosity across the way from asbestos filled, ancient offices in HCMC is depressing, simply for where governments decide to spend their money.

  20. So a New York left wing writer against public funding for stadiums takes a feeble swipe at at US Bank stadium. Truth is the vast majority of Minnesotans and those from outside the state that have actually been to the site…LOVE it. Yes, different than the other boring stadiums out there, that’s in part what makes it great, ugly it is not. Just another jealous minority opinion sounding off. New York Jets and Giants fans would LOVE to have a similar facility. With US Bank, Minnesota will now have the best football, baseball and hockey stadiums in the country.

    • I agree,I love the stadium….someone always has to be negative,but you can’t satisfy everyone…..SKOL US BANK STADUIM!!!!!! with your pretty self!!!!

  21. No, no, I took a feeble swipe at the XFL. It’s your newspaper columnist (plus a bunch of other Minnesotans, judging from comments) who hates the Vikings stadium.

  22. Neil, so XFL relates to NFL extortion I assume? So I just read Joe’s article and a few of the comments. I really like Joe Soucheray and he does hate to see public dollars wasted, so I understand why he feels the way he does. He also hates waste in public education spending and mentions the multi-billion dollar boondoggle light-rail trains where he’s right, no one asks to see if you’ve actually paid to ride it..insane!. On those and other subjects I agree with him completely. I look at the stadium differently however and believe it will be an asset to the community. It’s not even done yet and already a Final Four and a Super Bowl are scheduled. The commentators in the article are likely naysayers who also don’t like the 1/2 public, 1/2 private funding aspect. As to how it looks, that is simply subjective. Reaction so far from most people is that they seem to like it.

  23. The XFL joke was just a joke.

    I agree that the aesthetics of the stadium are a matter of taste — I don’t much care for it, but as I neither live near Minneapolis nor go to NFL games, it doesn’t matter much to me what it looks like. I disagree strongly that there’s any way on earth it will be a financial asset to the community at that price tag no matter how many Super Bowls and Final Fours it hosts (I’m guessing one of each will be it, but regardless), because of this:

    • Don’t worry, I’m paying for what feels like all of it with my 10$ A pack cigarettes.

  24. All I can think as I drive past is how many teachers we could have hired for a billion dollars.

  25. Good article, Neil. You may very well be right about the minimal economic impact Super Bowls and Final Fours have. I hate wasteful public spending, but in the end, the difference here may just be I’m an avid sports fan and just enjoy going to Target Field, Xcel Center and likely will also US Bank, because of the experience. It’s for that reason I’m not against the public funding side to it. The Vikings are picking up I believe over half the cost also, so it’s not entirely going to be on the public dime. Thanks for your replies. I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future.

  26. Once you count property tax breaks and operating subsidies, the Vikings are actually getting more public money in this deal than they’re spending on construction:

    Plus, even if you ignore these and stick to direct up-front cash subsidies, you still have a deal where the public is putting up half the money and the Vikings are getting 100% of the stadium revenues.

    Sure, at least now the Vikings will stay in town — though the Vikings’ own stadium point man said that they never would have left town regardless:

    There may be a silver lining here somewhere, but I’m having a hard time finding it, even as a sports fan.

  27. DG: In most of the world no one asks to see if you paid for light rail, except for an occasional random check. This is because people are honest and civilized and follow the rules. So your complaint is Minnesotans are nice and good people?

    By the way the green light is not a “multi-billion dollar boondoggle.” It cost $957M vs. $1.1B for the stadium. Every day 35k people ride the line. That means in two weeks more people use that than will use this new stadium in an entire year.

  28. Scola: Fare-dodgers cost Metro Transit $22,000/week on the Green line alone, that cost however is minimal overall. Once you get your SW route, that will be 3 – billion-dollar lines and, yes, a boondoggle. Dedicated, flexible BRT lines would have handled ridership perfectly fine along all these routes and at a small fraction of the LRT. Truth is people have a silly romance with trains, they want us to be like Europe. Have you seen a modern BRT car? They have low floors, glass doors on each end, comfortable seating, wi-fi and they’re green, powered by natural gas The transit “experience” is nearly the same as LRT. BTW, ask the business owners along the Green line how much they like it. Never mind those that had to end up closing their doors during construction. Most that did survive say they’ve received zero additional business and some have less, because of the LRT, yet their property taxes in some cases have nearly doubled. This is a liberal state that will always find ways to spend money foolishly and your LRT’s are a great example of that.

  29. Bus Rapid Transit is a worthwhile cheap transit option, but natural gas is only green compared to regular gasoline. It still has a huge climate impact compared to electric-powered light rail or trolleys. (Assuming the electricity is produced by some non-carbon-burning method, obviously — natural gas buses are way better than light rail powered by a coal plant.)

    A gravity train powered by the potential energy of the Vikings stadium roof would be cool, though.

  30. Thanks, Joe. Noah’s Ark is what I see in every picture of the monstrosity, especially when viewed from above. And when I tell people that, especially Vikings fans they look at me like I just uttered something unspeakable about their mother. This is the first time I have agreed with you about anything and it’s about time!

  31. Well, just don’t believe NG powered buses would have a “huge” climate impact and the LRT electricity is coming from a fossil fuel power plant of some kind here also, not a nuclear or renewable source. Like you said, NG is better than gas or diesel and a much cleaner bridge fuel till electric powered bus technology, especially in cold climates, could become viable. The BRT I believe would have been a better, more cost effective option vs LRT, that’s just my opinion. I realize the trainiacs will never agree, that’s fine. In the end they won, they got their way…so be it.

    Last on the stadium, I agree, Neil, with much of your view on the negative economics and also that the Vikings would never have left. Still, the Metrodome had to be replaced, that leaking, collapsing roof was not a good option. Retrofitting the dome with a more permanent roof structure was not a possibility, a new structure had to be built, it’s here now and hopefully it turns out well. Yes, a maglev train…I agree that would be cool.

  32. Be. He. Moth. That was clearly the design direction to the architects. And, it’s the only stadium that literally has an ass. That’s my unfortunate view from Seward.

  33. This is where Kylo Ren and the rest of the First Order like to relax between destroying planets and generally being the jerks of the universe.

  34. DG: So your argument is people have a “silly romance” with light rail. That’s another way of saying people like them.

    Hey, I like BRT as much as the next guy. I’ve ridden BRT. I like it. However, rapid or not I’ve rarely see a condo listing that says “close to bus” or a company say “we built our new headquarters near the bus.” Maybe it’s silly romance but from a development perspective people like to live near the stuff they like, or if you want to put it your way, near the stuff they have a “silly romance” for.

    Want more proof? How many articles about the new Vikings stadium or the St Paul MLS stadium mention how many bus lines run nearby.

    Irrational or not, people like what they like.

  35. Looks like a cathedral for a televangelist promoting a prosperity gospel. (Oh wait…that IS what it is!!)

  36. I’m sorry. I couldn’t even read this due to the uncapitalized and poorly spaced header, complete with photoshop embossing from 2005. Ugliness abounds in this world.

  37. I’ve been doing this for 18 years, and that is the first ever complaint I’ve received about headline kerning.

    I’ll work on it.

  38. So, enjoy your trains and I’ll enjoy the stadium. It would be great however if we could force all our politicians to watch this 2 minute video before they vote for any spending projects moving forward:

  39. bad design is simply great imagination without wisdom, also I would not let my worst enemy go enter that place

  40. I get it. You don’t like modern architecture. You will still pay outlandish prices to see grown men grope each other in order to move a ball up and down a field. Football fans, design and aesthetics are not really your forte.

  41. Which “you” are you talking to, M. Rostance? The last pro football game I attended was in 1985.

  42. No. Redeeming. Qualities. NRQ for the NFL. I recall when the Humphrey dome was built but deflated like a soufflé before our eyes. That was ugly too. Is there a curse on this plot of land? It looks like the picture of evil. No Viking ships there. Someone had a very imaginative hallucination when that claim was made. I think that the architects creating this must also have suffered concussions while playing the game.

  43. A few ideas:
    1. A junior high origami folded note
    2. A Death Star toaster
    3.A power Ranger helmet
    4. Something that makes an expensive cup of coffee
    5.The condo’s of Sauron.

  44. How about the fact that none of us wanted it in our city in the first place? It costed nearly 2 BILLION dollars to construct, much of which came from tax payers dollars. And people want to go on and on about how we’ll be making money from the Super Bowl when that’s just a drop in the bucket. Not pleased at all.

  45. So, now it’s 2 billion dollars and no one in the Twin Cities metro wanted it….really…would love to know where do those statistics come from.

  46. If my son was still playing minecraft I would snap a screen shot of the fortress him and I built. It is uncanny how similar the “stadium” looks to it. I would call this a TWC Fortress.

  47. It’s not $2B, it’s a bit over $1B. As for Twin Cities residents not wanting it, that’s pretty clear from a ton of polling:

    Those are state-wide polls, but when I saw metro-area polls, they weren’t much different.

  48. Well one of those is from 2012 before anyone saw what might be built or knew that the Vikings would be picking up at least a portion of the tab. I myself back then was more in favor of trying to renovate the Metrodome at the time, until I saw details about what “at best” they could actually do for improvements to it and the costs just to do that. They would have been nothing but an expensive band-aid. The other one essentially says that 1/3rd would not vote for the legislator. Well, there will always be those that are against these types of projects, that certainly doesn’t make it the majority opinion however. I live here and listen to local talk radio when I drive, watch local news daily, read the local newspaper and just never actually hear any of that. Most everything I hear is positive and that most are looking forward to it opening, despite the comments here.

  49. The stadium funding was approved in 2012 — they stopped taking opinion polls about it once it was happening. But all the way to the end of the process, it was clear that the public was opposed to the money that was being spent — that’s why the Vikings required the state legislature to grant them an exemption from holding a referendum on the county tax hike.

    As for talk radio callers, there’s a reason why polling companies don’t collect their data by going on the radio and then keeping a checklist of whoever calls in.

  50. They’ve gone to excess on this new stadium, could have come up with a less expensive option, I’ll agree with that. The real problem is that they went too cheap on the Metrodome. Narrow hallways which could not be expanded later, too few bathrooms, poor sightlines for baseball, etc. Had they put a bit more thought and money in to that at the time there would likely have been no need for US Bank stadium now. It is what it is. Nice having these conversations with you, Neil. Look forward to future articles from you.

  51. I am sure Glad we the Working Class Get to pay for the NFL Billion Dollar Money Generating Machine all the while they get to keep the profits from Our Dollar ….

  52. As for the LRT and arts tax arguments; ALL the taxpayer funding for ALL the arts doesn’t total ¼ of the price JUST the City is on the hook for with that monstrosity. The LRT is public infrastructure and the arts are non-profits that give back to the community, unlike that hideous pile of tin which absorbs your money and ships it to New Jersey.

  53. I’m 44 years old, born and raised in Minnesota, and a die-hard Vikings fan. The Vikings den should not be pretty and ‘cute’! It should look state-of-art, intimidating, and sinister……..which is exactly what it is! My office is four blocks from it, so I get to see it every day. It’s very impressive, it’s massive……it’s absolutely perfect!

  54. It’s not a question of beauty or ugliness. I Cann appreciate the design elements well enough. It a question of scale. How CA a single football stadium dwarf an entire metropolitan downtown? Seriously, didn’t anyone build models to show how it fit into the skyscape? It’s embarrassing because it is so ridiculously outsized for its surroundings. Half of good design is about fitting into the surroundings. In this case the Vikings intentionally sent a signal that they are THE . MOST . IMPORTANT thing in town (which is laughable in its bravado) or the designers made a huge gaffe in sizing the building to fit it’s environment. I do not like what it *tries* to say about who we are as a community.

  55. I call it The Giant Glasshole.

    Another friend called it the Death Star, which I liked too.

  56. Who was the drunken fool who thought of this hideous stadium. Ugliest thing I ever saw. Looks like something out of a science fiction movie.

  57. I have not seen it in person yet but plan to go to a game or two there. I have no problem with how it looks. It will be unique in every way and the twin cities should be proud to have it. It could have been built elsewhere and now the local businesses will reap the financial rewards of it being built there. It should have been built elsewhere so not only getting to it but being able to park at it for tailgating would have been easier. My opinion. But there is alot of money to be made in just tailgating.

  58. I got a good photo of it…

  59. Why are people so close minded?! It’s different and I can appreciate the abstract look. You people need to get out more. Maybe try the art museum. I think sports are a giant waste of time and money but I do like the vision the architect had. ALL THE OTHER STADIUMS LOOK THE DAMN SAME SO WHAT’S WRONG WITH THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX.

  60. Horrifying aberration that completely obliterates any remaining artfulness from the Minnesota skyline. How can anyone spend 1 billion dollars and go so terribly, tragically wrong?

  61. I like right angles. Architects should really start utilizing the golden number in their math. It looks completely unnatural. As far as a work of art goes, I would have to say it completely takes your eyes away from that beautiful smog infested dreg of minneapolis. There is no blending in this soup. It is way too buisy. I usually never critisize a work of art, but when something looks like you just dropped a foreign object from space….. Ummm….. It really doesn’t look like it belongs there. Whoever likes this does not understand the concept of looking on the outside of what it is.

  62. I have to agree that the headlins are hard to read.
    On my iPhone 5s, the thin white letters disappear into the green background

  63. New mobile headline font, everybody! Check it out and let me know if it’s less hideous than the new Vikings stadium.

    • I forgot to request notifications when this thread gets updated, but once I noticed the headline style changed, I made sure to track this thread down. Much easier to read. I like it

  64. Whatever. Minnesota hates the Vikings and is begging them to move. We’d even suffer being on the hook for that abortion of a stadium (which we sadly are) to get rid of them.