US Bank Stadium to get new turf, wants $62M to finish perimeter fence project

The agency that owns U.S. Bank Stadium has approved upgrades to playing surfaces in an effort to reduce injury risk but says it will need significant financial help from the state to finish its exterior security project.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) met Thursday and authorized a full turf system replacement to be completed in the spring.

The $1.3 million project will include new playing surfaces for football, baseball and softball, plus new turf storage cobs, mechanically hinged goalposts and new pylon camera conduit and boxes.

It comes amid more focus on player safety, as several NFL players and the league’s players association has called for stadiums to switch to grass. Several high-profile NFL players have suffered injuries this year on turf. That includes Vikings star wide receiver Justin Jefferson and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who were both hurt in the teams’ game on Oct. 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium

The new turf, Xtreme Turf DX, a 2½-inch monofilament surface, is deemed as less of an injury risk by the NFL and will replace the current slit film turf that was installed in 2019. The change was already in the works because the current system was scheduled to reach the end of its life at the end of this season. The new turf will be the third system the stadium has gotten since opening in 2016.

The old turf, which will start to be removed in February, is expected to be entirely recycled.

Additionally, MSFA said the first phase of its permanent secured perimeter project, which is currently under construction to install anti-climb fencing as well as barriers and bollards, remains on schedule. However, the agency says the second phase carries an estimated price tag of $62.3 million, which MSFA will ask the state for.

The sports authority says it is prepared for routine and short-term capital improvement needs but that price tag “exceeds the capability for the MSFA to fund with the stadium’s current funding mechanisms.”

Agency officials say they’ll have conversations with Gov. Tim Walz and state lawmakers to go over the plan and try to secure that funding to finish the project, which MSFA says will “protect Minnesota’s asset and the important investment that the public made to create U.S. Bank Stadium.”

The first phase, which covers the north, east and south portions of the stadium, cost $15.7 million, which the Legislature approved this year. The second part, according to MSFA, would improve safety but also install a “state of the art” enhanced entry screening process, provide more separation between vehicle and pedestrian paths, preserve community access and bike paths while allowing more flexibility and use for events within the perimeter, and improve visibility of public art, including through the installation of permanent plaza structures.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.