Screencap via NBC (CC-BY)
The Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers last night with a backup quarterback who has only been on the team for two weeks, but somehow that wasn’t the most jaw-dropping thing about the game. No, the single most shocking moment of the game was when an injured Adrian Peterson was hauled back to the locker room through a maze of gawking fans and barstools.If you were watching the game, you were probably just as confused as everyone else, and not just because the Vikings’ star running back—currently on a $42 million contract—was being dragged past fans snapping photos of him as he grimaced in pain, but because this was all happening in the Vikings’ brand new, billion-dollar stadium.
U.S. Bank Stadium, which was built between December 2013 and July 2016 and boasted a construction bill of just over $1 billion, is supposed to be a state-of-the-art facility with all the latest in architectural design and creature comforts. However, as it appeared in the telecast, the fastest path between the Vikings’ bench and the locker room full of trained medical staff, x-ray machines, and painkillers is straight through a commons area where fans are buying beer and nachos.
The path between the field and the Vikings’ locker room on the ground floor of the stadium is seemingly designed with player/fan interaction in mind. Rather than having the players rush through a bare tunnel and into the arena, as is the case in most NFL stadiums, the Vikings filled that space with stools, concessions, and lots of decorative flair. The unfortunate side effect of the design is that if a player is injured, they have to take a trip back through the same twisting maze, complete with countless onlookers.
For Peterson’s part, he was scheduled for an MRI Monday morning, so it turns out his journey back to the locker room wasn’t the end of the struggle.