Despite working nearly 15 years for the Minnesota Vikings, turf manager Grant Davisson isn’t showing signs of slowing down any time soon. He continues to go to incredible lengths to make sure all field surfaces at the various Vikings facilities exceed NFL standards, all while preparing for the opening of the Vikings’ new home – U.S. Bank Stadium – next season.
Davisson is presented with unique challenges as the Vikings are currently playing home games in the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium while U.S. Bank Stadium is being constructed in time for the start 2016 NFL season. Each week, Davisson is tasked with the seamless transition of the TCF Bank Stadium field surface from the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the Minnesota Vikings.
“Because of the field changeover between Gophers and Vikings game, we definitely have a bit extra on our plate compared to others in the league,” said Davisson. “Luckily I have an incredible team on the turf staff, and we have the process down to a science at this point.”
He says their record changeover time is 5 hours, 51 minutes, which depends on a number of factors, including weather.
Construction of U.S. Bank Stadium is well underway, and the fully enclosed stadium will feature an artificial surface designed to closely replicate real grass. In the coming weeks the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) will begin the selection process for a specific provider, and the field will be installed in May 2016.
Davisson is also tasked with battling the harsh Minnesota conditions and having the team’s Winter Park practice facility lush and green in spring, weeks before the typical neighboring lawn. The real Kentucky blue grass field is shielded using a growth cover during frigid months. Additionally, utilizing years of data on moisture levels and weather conditions along with a world-class Toro irrigation system that includes sensors to monitor and adjust moisture levels, Davisson and his staff are ready for whatever Mother Nature is planning to throw their way.
“After working for the Vikings for over ten years, I’m extremely proud of my daily contribution to help get the team ready for game day,” added Davisson.