- Ben Goessling, ESPN Staff Writer
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings announced on Thursday afternoon that they've finalized a $6.6 million set of upgrades for the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, where the Vikings will play the 2014 and 2015 seasons while their new stadium is being built. The big one -- which everyone knew the Vikings would have to get as soon as they announced they'd be playing at TCF Bank Stadium -- is a heated field.
You'll recall the Vikings played one home game at the Gophers' stadium on Dec. 20, 2010, after the Metrodome roof collapsed and the team effectively went on a barnstorming tour for the last several weeks of the season. The temperature at kickoff for the Monday night game against the Chicago Bears was 23 degrees, and the TCF Bank Stadium field -- which had last been used by the University of Minnesota in November -- was hard after having no heat source. Brett Favre played the last snaps of his career on the field, sustaining a concussion when the Bears Corey Wootton slammed him to the turf. If the Vikings were ever going to take up temporary residence there while a new stadium was built, they'd have to spring for a heat source.
They've done that, as part of a package that will be paid for as part of the overall $975 million new stadium budget. TCF Bank Stadium will also get increased storage space, heating for various areas within the stadium and upgrades to the concession stands in the stadium's concourses. The Vikings will add 2,000 temporary bleachers, bringing the overall stadium capacity to 52,000. The team expects construction to begin in March and be completed by July.