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Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis: The basics

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Fans make their way into the stadium after going through security lines.
Fans braved frigid temperatures, -14 at game time, racing from the long security lines to the warmth of U. S. Bank Stadium to watch the Vikings play the Chicago Bears in the final game of the season on Dec. 31, 2017.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

Updated: Jan. 16, 2018 | Posted: Jan. 8, 2018

Minneapolis is gearing up to host its second Super Bowl in city history on the first weekend of February. 

Here are the basics of the game and the events surrounding it:

When and where

Super Bowl Sunday is Feb. 4, 2018. The game will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis at 5:30 p.m. Central.

It's the second time the city has hosted a Super Bowl. In January 1992, Washington beat Buffalo, 37-24, in Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome. 

Super Bowl XXVI
Tight end Keith McKeller of Buffalo (center) gets tackled by a pair of Washington players during Super Bowl XXVI on Jan., 26, 1992, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. Washington won the game, 37-24.
Mike Powell | Getty Images file 1992

Who's playing?

We won't know until Jan. 21, when the NFL's American Football Conference and National Football Conference play their championship games.

At 2:05 p.m. Central time, the New England Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars for the AFC conference championship. At 5:40 p.m. Central time, the Vikings head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles in the NFC championship. 

The winners of both games will meet at the Super Bowl on Feb. 4.  

How did we get here? The NFL playoffs began Jan. 13. The league's top four teams were already guaranteed a slot in the playoffs, and who those teams played was determined by a wild-card round, which happened the weekend before.

For the AFC, the Tennessee Titans beat the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Los Angeles Rams and the Carolina Panthers lost to the New Orleans Saints. 

In the first round of playoffs, the four top-seeded teams in the AFC and the NFC — the New England Patriots (AFC East division), the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC North), the Philadelphia Eagles (NFC East) and the Minnesota Vikings (NFC North) — each played a team from their conference's wild card round to narrow the field for each conference to two teams. All top-seeded teams but the Pittsburgh Steelers won their divisional rounds. The Steelers lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Jan. 14.

What if the Vikings make it?

Fans watch preparations on the U.S. Bank Stadium field before the game.
Two Minnesota Viking fans watch preparations on the U.S. Bank Stadium field a few hours before the Vikings played their final game of the season against the Chicago Bears in December.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News

That would be historic — and it's not outside the realm of possibility. The FiveThirtyEight data blog has given the Vikings a good chance of making it to the Super Bowl. 

The Vikings ended the regular season as NFC North champions — ahead of Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit, for the second time in three years — with 13 wins and only three losses. 

The team had the second-best record in the NFC this season, after the Philadelphia Eagles. Because of that, they had the week off during the wild-card round, and will get to host their first-round playoff game on Jan. 14. 

They'll play the highest-ranking team to win the NFC wild card round — the New Orleans Saints. 

If the Vikings win their NFC divisional game on Jan. 14, they're only one game away from being the first NFL team to play in a Super Bowl in its own city. Two teams have come close, though: In 1980, the Los Angeles Rams played Super Bowl XIV in Pasadena's Rose Bowl, about 35 miles from the team's home at Anaheim Stadium. Five years later, the San Francisco 49ers played Super Bowl XIX in Stanford Stadium, about 30 miles from the team's home at Candlestick Park.

Have the Vikings ever been in the Super Bowl?

Mick Tingelhoff
Minnesota Vikings offensive linemen Ron Yary, Mils Sunde, Mick Tingelhoff, Ed White and Grady Alderman took on the world champion Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium in Houston in 1974.
AP | File 1974

Yes: Four times, all losses.

The first Super Bowl was held in 1967 in Los Angeles, but the Vikings didn't make their first appearance until Super Bowl IV on Jan. 11, 1970. They lost 23-7 to Kansas City in New Orleans' Tulane Stadium.

The Vikings' next Super Bowl appearance — and loss — came four years later in Houston, in a 24-7 rout by Miami.

They played again the following year, in Super Bowl IX, this time back in Tulane Stadium. That game was a 16-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have so far won six Super Bowls, more than any other team in the league.

The team's most recent Super Bowl appearance was in 1977 — Super Bowl XI — in Pasadena's Rose Bowl. They lost to Oakland, 32-14.

How can I get tickets?

Good luck.

The going rate on StubHub, a month before the game, starts around $3,200 — for a single ticket. 

There's still a chance, though: WCCO reported last year that the NFL typically allots 35 percent of game tickets to the two teams that end up playing in the game. From there, they reported, 6.2 percent of tickets go to the host city team and the remaining third of the Super Bowl tickets goes to the rest of the league's teams. According to WCCO, the league keeps about 25 percent of tickets for itself to sell, distribute or use for media and staff.

What else is going on around the Super Bowl?

Ice Pyramid
An ice pyramid lights up part of the Luminary Loppet course on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis in February 2010.
Gina Reis | MPR News file 2010

The Super Bowl host committee has planned a 10-day festival, called Super Bowl LIVE, beginning Jan. 26 and running through Super Bowl Sunday. It's all being held outdoors on Nicollet Mall, and will include free concerts, ice sculptures, food and other attractions.

The committee will also open the Super Bowl Experience, a ticketed event (prices range from $25 to $55) at the Minneapolis Convention Center, from Jan. 27 through Feb. 3.

Many other venues around the Twin Cities are hosting events, too. MPR News' sister station The Current has pulled together a list of the concerts alone.

St. Paul's annual Winter Carnival is scheduled to span Super Bowl week and beyond, beginning on Jan. 25 and running until Feb. 10. 

St. Paul's Como Park Conservatory will turn its annual winter flower show into a Super Bowl-themed event, running Jan. 13 through March 11.

Minneapolis' annual City of Lakes Loppet ski festival is scheduled to run Jan. 27 through Feb. 4, with cross-country ski races, dogsled events and a luminary loppet on Saturday night.