WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --

    A week ago I had the good fortune to visit the new Vikings Taj Mahal to football. Wow! It certainly is impressive, it is amazing what you can build for a bit over one billion dollars, half of which were donated by the general public of the state through our income taxes. The benefit for those of us living in the outlying areas  of the state is very little. Out here it is just another place to  send a fair amount of income away from our communities. But hey, I guess that is something we all have a part in creating.



    Nevertheless our son Joseph was able to obtain some tickets from a US Bank employee friend  for a special open house for bank employees, family and friends. Besides myself and Joe, our grandson-in-law, Brandon, his brother Jared and our great grandson Blake went along with us.  As it turns  out we were among  the 41,000 of those attending on Sunday, August 7. Upon our arrival we lucked out finding a parking spot right across from  the stadium which parted us with ten dollars. I think that price goes up significantly during Viking home games.

    There are four main entrances to the facility, three of which were open. We kind of followed the crowd to the north entrance, but when we got there we found a line of several thousand people waiting to get in the stadium. So I, who am quite observational, noticed when we had driven by the opposite side of the stadium recalled there seemed to be considerably less people at those gates.  So we walked almost all  the way back around, and were able to get in the stadium in just a few minutes.

    Once inside volunteers were handing  out chocolate chip cookies, the only freebie of the day,  but they were good. We then proceeded to mill about with most of the 41,000 people on the main concourse, occasionally dipping into some of the club areas. We wanted to go down to the field to see the locker rooms. We found out to get there you had to go to section 138 which is just below the 50 by 150 Jumbo video boards on the west end. Of course about ten thousand or so other people were told the same thing so we mushed our way through the crowd for a half hour or so, then, when we were within 20 feet of the entrances they stopped letting people in for some  unknown reason.

    Having a bit of prior experience in finding those normally hidden areas from the public in the Excel Center and the Metrodome. I told the guys I think we need to find  another way to get there. So we worked our way back out of the crowd and found an elevator, and I said lets get on I think we can get to the field level. Five minutes later we were walking on  the  incredible turf of the stadium. That stuff is really awesome, I can imagine it must be great to play football on it.

    From that point we were able to go through the Vikings locker room, which was quite nice but not overly impressive. Then we were able to get in line on the field to have our picture taken with one  of the Viking cheerleaders. After that we found an exit and left the stadium. All in all it was a great afternoon.

Have a great week and do good!