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The NFL's opening weekend is here. I can't say that I've missed the preseason games, which were eliminated due to the pandemic. But it has added to the odd feel of the lead up to the regular season. The opener is Thursday, September 10 with the Texans and Chiefs. The Vikings play Sunday, September 13 against Green Bay in what will be an empty US Bank Stadium.

No preseason games/no fans at training camp. Only a couple of years ago, folks in Mankato were lamented the loss of training camp to the new facility in Eagan. Then this year, those stands stood empty with no fans allowed into training camp. I missed chatting with longtime Vikings season ticket holder Todd Walkingstick for a radio segment. He has always been a regular at training camp and all the home games.

Daily testing of players. The Star Tribune reports players will be tested everyday, except for game days, "Anybody with a positive test or potentially exposed to someone who tested positive is put on the reserve/COVID-19 list."

Traveling will be different. Team traveling parties are reduced. Players will essentially be isolated from the time they arrive to when they leave town. Each player will be in their own room and cannot have guests according to the Star Tribune article.

Game day roster are expanded. In the collective bargaining agreement hashed out earlier this year, teams rosters will be 48 on game day, up two from the previous allowance.

Fans/sideline access. As week one of the season arrives, only six teams plan to allow fans into their stadium. Minnesota is not one of them. Per NFL rules, sidelines will be absent of cheerleaders, mascots, and sideline reporters.