The Minnesota Vikings will no longer have fans for their home games this year. On Wednesday, the Vikings announced they would not host 250 fans in U.S. Bank Stadium for the last four home games of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has seen an increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the NFL enters the second half of the year.
"After much consideration and discussion with U.S. Bank Stadium partners, the State of Minnesota, and the City of Minneapolis, we will no longer pursue hosting more than 250 fans for the remaining 2020 Vikings regular-season home games," the Vikings announced. While we have worked hard to develop a safe and responsible plan to bring back a limited number of fans, our decisions have been based on medical guidance with public health as the top priority."
The Vikings went on to say they are ready to have fans back at the stadium in 2021. "Players, coaches and staff have missed the energy and passion Vikings fans bring on game day and appreciate the unwavering remote support as we enter the second half of the 2020 season," the Vikings stated. "We look forward to welcoming fans back next season and recreating the special environment we all enjoy at U.S. Bank Stadium." The team also asked the fans to "minimize the spread of this virus by wearing face coverings, practicing proper social distancing and limiting social gatherings."
The Vikings' next home game is on Nov. 22 against the Dallas Cowboys. They will then host the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 29, the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 6 and the Chicago Bears on Dec. 20. Currently, the Vikings have a 3-5 record and have a chance to reach the playoffs despite the slow start. Due to the playoffs being expanded to 14 teams (seven teams in each conference), the Vikings are only two games behind the Los Angeles Rams for the final playoff spot. And with the return of running back Dalvin Cook, the Vikings have been on a roll as they have won their last two games.
"Dalvin is a terrific player because it doesn't matter to him," coach Mike Zimmer said when talking about Cook as reported by ESPN. "Obviously, he wants to get 200 yards every week, but he's going to do all the dirty work ... he's going to do everything.