I’ve written about my love for the Minnesota Vikings and how I’ve shared that with my kids, especially my 13-year-old son, Ethan. Last weekend, I was finally able to take Ethan to his first Minnesota Vikings game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but I was concerned about whether he’d be able to sit through an entire game. If you’ve ever watched an entire live NFL game, you know that there are a lot of TV breaks and they can drag on (especially if your team is losing).
I picked the September 25 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because my wife and I had some leftover Southwest Airlines points, the weather was supposed to be nice, and I thought the Vikings had a pretty good chance of winning the game.
Of course, the week before we left, they announced that Sam Bradford, the Vikings starting QB was going to miss the game because of injury. Ethan and I were instantly disappointed thinking that we were going to travel in for a less exciting game. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. More to come on the game in a bit.
Day #1 – Traveling to Minneapolis & Visiting the Mall of America
The trip started on Saturday morning with a couple of quick flights from Louisville to Chicago and then to Minneapolis. Both flights went so smoothly. We were actually ahead of schedule. How often does that happen?
When we landed in Minneapolis, the weather was absolutely beautiful. After waiting for about 15-20 minutes, a shuttle from our hotel picked us up and took us to the hotel.
Continuing with our smooth afternoon, the hotel (Country Inn and Suites) let us check in early. It was a pretty nice room. I picked it because it was within walking distance of the Mall of America, provided a free shuttle to/from the airport and had free breakfast every morning.
After hanging in the room for a few minutes, we headed over to the Mall of America. It was a very short 10-minute walk. Once inside, Ethan was instantly drawn to the middle of the mall where they have an amusement park and arcade games. I’m not sure what it is with my kids and arcades. They are sucked in like moths to a flame. After spending a few dollars on some games, I was able to get Ethan to move on.
At this point in the afternoon, we were getting hungry after getting up so early to catch our flight. We hit my favorite burger joint in the mall called Burger Burger. I ate there last December when I was there and really enjoyed it.
We spent most of the afternoon (and then came back that evening) walking around the mall looking for Vikings gear. That’s what I love about this place. They have Vikings apparel everywhere.
If you’ve never been to the Mall of America, it really is an amazing place. It takes hours to cover the whole place. They have everything.
We came across a store called Brickmania where they sell custom military-themed LEGO sets. They are pretty expensive but still really cool. Since I write about LEGO quite a bit on this blog, I thought I’d share some pictures.
Game Day – Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
After getting up and watching some of the early game (being played in London) and eating breakfast, we decided to head over to the stadium. One of the cool things about Minneapolis is their light rail train system. I bought us full day weekend passed for $3.50 each. We walked to the train station at the Mall of America and were on the train for about 30 minutes before getting to the stop at US Bank Stadium (where the Vikings play).
One of the cool things about Minneapolis is their light rail train system. I bought us full day weekend passed for $3.50 each. We walked to the train station at the Mall of America and were on the train for about 30 minutes before getting to the stop at US Bank Stadium (where the Vikings play).
We walked to the train station at the Mall of America and were on the train for about 30 minutes before getting to the stop at US Bank Stadium (where the Vikings play).
After looking in the Vikings store, we got to our seats. I made sure I got seats as close to the middle of the field as I could. I also wanted seats at the end of the row.
It really was a great game for us to watch in person. The Vikings put up a dominant effort throughout the game and the Bucs didn’t have a chance.
As part of being apart of the home team crowd and winning, the energy flowing through the stadium was awesome. One of the things that the team started doing in the new stadium is the SKOL chant. Check out the video below. It’s a great way to hype the crowd.
This was my 8th regular season Vikings game and it was definitely the best one. I won’t even share how many times I’ve seen them lose in person.
The Vikings ended up winning 34 to 17. Our backup QB, Case Keenum balled out and played really well. Both Ethan and I had Vikings players on our fantasy football teams and they all racked up the points. It was so much fun and I was thrilled that Ethan got to experience such a good game.
It was so much fun and I was thrilled that Ethan got to experience such a good game.
Once we got back to our hotel, we watched the end of the late afternoon NFL games and then went to dinner. We finished the night with a movie in our room.
Day #3 – Last Visit to the Mall of America & Going Home
Since we had a mid-afternoon flight, we had time to hit the mall one more time before leaving. Ethan got himself some fidget spinners from one of the kiosks and I picked up a Vikings t-shirt.
When we got back to the hotel, our shuttle took us to the airport. Again, all of the flights went smoothly and we flew back to Louisville.
Overall, it was an amazing trip. I was so glad that Ethan got to see the Vikings win in his first live game. We really had a blast at the game. It was a lot of fun walking around the mall and spending the weekend with Ethan. He’s already asked me if we can go again next year.
I don’t know if we’ll be able to go every year but maybe we can swing it every couple of years. No matter what happens, I’m thrilled that cheering for the Vikings is something we can do together.
I’m looking forward to many more years of watching the Vikings play with my son.