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Vikings announce first two home games will be held without fans

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday that fans will not be welcomed at U.S. Bank Stadium for the team’s first two home games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on the team’s official site and shared via social media, the Vikings announced that due to continued “conversations and the current Minnesota Department of Health guidelines that specify an indoor venue capacity of 250, we have determined it is not the right time to welcome fans back to U.S. Bank Stadium.”

The two games impacted by the decision are the Vikings’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 13 and a Week 3 showdown with the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 27.

“Over the past several months, we have collaborated with U.S. Bank Stadium partners, the NFL, the State of Minnesota and the City of Minneapolis to determine the best way to safely and responsibly host a limited number of fans at Vikings home games,” the statement reads in part. “We have sought to balance the opportunity to provide fan access with the responsibility to adhere to public health and medical guidance in order to maintain the health and safety of fans, players, staff members and the broader community. Ultimately, public health is our top priority.”

The NFL declined to enact a universal policy regarding whether fans will be allowed into games, instead allowing each team to decide in accordance with local governmental edicts and directives. This has caused no shortage of consternation across the league, as some coaches have railed against the arguable competitive imbalance it creates, including Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

“It’s going to be very hard because some stadiums they’re allowing people in and it looks like we’re not going to have any fans in there early, which really stinks because we have unbelievable fans, and they make that place rocking every Sunday,” Zimmer said last Friday. “But the best way to have homefield advantage is to play really good. Execute, make tackles, don’t make mistakes, don’t commit penalties, turnovers, all those things.”

Teams continue to share their plans for fan attendance in both the short- and long-term, but the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins have already announced plans to have fans in the stands in some capacity at the onset of the season.