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Vikings tailgaters face shrinking party zone come game day

Those truly committed to the Ghallarhorn's cause will likely see a more restrictive area to tailgate.

Those truly committed to the Ghallarhorn's cause will likely see a more restrictive area to tailgate.

For Minnesota Vikings homers, fandom has no off-season.

With the NFL Draft complete, the people of the purple now eye August 28. The preseason tilt against San Diego kicks open the the new Armor All'ed stadium and renewed Lombardi Trophy dreams.

Folks from Elk River to Northfield, West St. Paul to Wayzata will gather outside and party like this year is going to be the year.  

Unless the fine people at Minneapolis City Hall decide to ruin everything.  

Purple and gold tailgaters might have to tamp down their revelry expectations. An initiative in Minneapolis could crimp where and how much tailgating goes down.

The existing zone for BBQ, booze, and bonding is essentially a crude square, according to city paperwork. One side girdles the taxpayer-funded coliseum along Fifth Street South from 11th Avenue toward downtown, stopping at Third Avenue. The northern boundary is the Mississippi River, which runs on a diagonal from northwest to southeast.

The existing tailgating zone is outlined in red; Frey's proposal can be seen in yellow.

The existing tailgating zone is outlined in red; Frey's proposal can be seen in yellow.

According to a proposed reconfiguration of the party zone by Council Member Jacob Frey, tailgaters would be relegated to a swath smaller than the existing area. Eliminated would be real estate from Washington Avenue to the river.

Frey's proposed ordinance would add space behind the stadium, stopping at 35W while extending along 13th Avenue to W. River Parkway.

The initiative comes from necessity, says Frey. New residential development near Washington Avenue and pushing toward the river has transformed open lots and concrete into a neighborhood. In the name of peaceful coexistence, the tailgating zone requires modification.

"Two things have happened," Frey says. "This neighborhood has seen some of the most significant residential growth in the entire city over the last several years. And, two, the number of certain parking lots has substantially decreased. You can't tailgate where there's now a building." 

The changes aren't cause for freaking out, he assures Viking nation. There'll be plenty of spots for fans to get their game faces on. 

"We clearly needed to account for the reality of this changing neighborhood," says Frey. "This is simply acknowledging that." 

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for May 17.