As fans cheer Vikings on to victory in home opener, some make decisions on masking up

Downtown Minneapolis turned into a sea of purple as Vikings fans streamed into U.S. Bank Stadium for Sunday’s home opener against the Seahawks.

“We need a win, the Vikings need a win,” Eden Prairie resident Dave Johnson said. “Yeah, we’re excited to be loud, get the decibels over 120.”

One man played a set of homemade drums near the stadium steps while others cheered and whooped.

“This is my team, man,” says Keishon Coleman, who traveled from Louisville, Kentucky, to watch the game. “Die hard, die hard Vikings fan. Been a Vikings fan for as long as I can remember.”

This was a home opener unlike any other.

Kristen Schoephoerster of Minneapolis, waiting for kickoff, was weighing her options about wearing a face mask.

The Vikings strongly encouraged fans to wear masks, but there was no requirement.

“We’ve had Vikings tickets since the beginning,” Schoephoerster says. “I’m kind of swaying about it, you know what I mean? I’m just going to feel how it feels when I get in and see what it’s like. If I feel uncomfortable, I’ll just do something else.”

Here and there, you’ll find a Seahawks fan, like Marissa Ornelas, who traveled to Minneapolis from Iowa.

“I think it’ll be a fun game to watch,” she says. “I think it’ll be a good game for sure.”

Megan and Dave Johnson from Eden Prairie decided to mask up.

"I am due in two and a half weeks,” she says. “Just with the delta variant and being pregnant I don’t want to risk it, and we have little kids at home who can’t be vaccinated yet."

Then there’s DeVonna Brasson — who is from Minnesota but now resides in Arizona — decked out in a Vikings cape and purple shoes while carrying a mask.

"We’re super fans and just went to the game back in Arizona,” she said. “For me and my family, it’s important to wear it, whether you are vaccinated or not. It helps contain the spread, but I do understand that some people don’t and no judgment."

During the game, the vibe on the street took a quiet turn.

A man was playing the violin near the stadium entrance.

Nearby, staffers at the Moxy bar say they got a pre-game boost, with about 250 patrons today, versus about 90 on a typical special event day.

"Been here at the bar, been tailgating, I mean, life is good,” David Siebert of Eagan said. “Fantastic day, perfect afternoon game.”

Of course, a win doesn’t hurt either.

Even during the new normal.

“It’s a little weird, but it’s nice to have some sense of normalcy,” Megan Johnson says. “So if wearing a mask is the biggest inconvenience that we have, then we’ll do it."