New Vikings stadium opens two years from tomorrow

It looks a long way away. But opening day for the new Vikings stadium is approaching fast: the construction contract for the facility sets a deadline for the project to be ready for football for the 2016 preseason.

“It’s amazing when you look at the site, you can see how much construction has already happened,” says Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. “You actually can see the concourse you’re going to walk in on when you’re back on 11th Avenue. You can kind of picture yourself already standing in the stadium. And two years from now, we’ll be opening the doors, July 15, 2016.”

That leaves about 731 days left to get the work done. Right now, there are about 400 people a day showing up at the site to work on the project. Kelm-Helgen says there are about 200 Minnesota companies already with contracts for the projects. There will be three more big chunks of the project to be put out for bid in the next coming months — which will officially put the entire project under contract.

“The big thing this coming year will be that roof structure that’s going up. We’re going to have that huge steel truss that spans from one side of the stadium to the other,” Kelm-Helgen says. “At its peak, it will stand about 300 feet in the air. They’re building it from both sides and it will meet in the middle and it’ll take about a year to get the whole thing done.”