NEWS BRIEF Vikings—not the folks at the U.S. Bank Stadium—probably didn’t travel to Minnesota during the time of Leif Eriksson. But they’re trying to now.
Academics have long dismissed the “discovery” of a rune-covered stone by a Swedish-American farmer in the western part of the state in 1898, calling it a forgery. But Vikings did arrive in North America around A.D. 1000 in an expedition led by Eriksson.
He heard from an Icelandic trader that there was land west of Greenland. And so he went, along with 35 others. They eventually settled in a land of meadows, rivers, and wild grapes, which was likely present-day Newfoundland in Canada. He was so fond of this region, and the wine he made with those grapes, that he named it Vinland, or “Wineland.”
Today, a new band of norsemen attempting to re-create Eriksson’s transatlantic journey are sailing from Norway to Duluth, Minnesota, by mid-August in the world’s largest Viking ship built in modern times, called the Draken Harald Hårfagre.
When he traveled to North America, Eriksson and the other Vikings didn’t have to pay much to make the journey (with the exception of his brother’s life by the hands of the indigenous population). But these modern-day Vikings have some big costs of their own: a $400,000 fee to pay for a pilot who can get them through the Great Lakes, required by the U.S. Coast Guard. And there’s no more room in the ship’s budget.