Boisterous, Raucous, Exuberant Fans at U.S. Bank Stadium
Fans at U.S. Bank Stadium tend to be enthusiastic.
At noon tomorrow, Minnesota will take on the division rival Detroit Lions. Dan Campbell’s squad has been exceeding expectations lately. At 5-7, they’re the second-best team in the NFC North. Pulling off the victory at Ford Field is thus no sure thing.
Given that it’s a road game, the Vikings won’t be able to benefit from their fans (though I assume a minority of purple jerseys will be in the stands). Nevertheless, it’s a game that can have a massive impact on the great fans of Minnesota. A win ensures the team snags its first division title since Mike Zimmer shepherded the squad to an elite 2017 season.
Perhaps the first and most obvious benefit of winning the division is that the team gets into the playoffs. Once there, there is the guarantee of playing at least one game at home.
Being able to play football with the help of the skol chant, Gjallarhorn, and widespread applause is like taking on the sea with wind in the boat’s sails. The cheers can propel the team forward, providing much-needed support and momentum during a slugfest.
Furthermore, playing in front of one’s own fans means that the opposition will need to contend with an extra hurdle: crowd noise on offense. Many will remember how quiet Colts fans were whenever Peyton Manning took the field in Indianapolis. The Hall of Fame QB had a library’s quiet, thus allowing him to communicate to his teammates with ease. The road team, in contrast, would have benefited from a megaphone attached to the QB’s helmet.
Whoever travels to Minnesota in the playoffs will need to overcome the boisterous, raucous, exuberant fans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Forcing the team to burn a timeout or two at inopportune times can make a difference. We’ve all seen plenty of close Vikings games this season. How much would New York have liked to have an extra timeout at the end of the most recent game?
The current likeliest scenario involves Washington, New York (the Giants, not Jets), or Seattle coming to town in the Wild Card Round. In any of these three games, Minnesota would be favored to win, especially at home. Of course, there are no sure things in sport; the Vikings will need to earn a trip to the Divisional Round.
Thankfully, it looks like a strong start to the season nearly ensures home-field advantage. As a result, Vikings fans have a part to play. Showing up ready to vigorously support the purple and gold can help Kevin O’Connell get his first ever playoff win.
That’s a goal that many will be enthused about bringing to fruition. A win in tomorrow’s divisional game guarantees at least a single home playoff game. Get ready to start cheering.
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