The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission will meet today and, according to a good source, is expected to hear the evaluation from engineers that a complete new roof is needed for the Metrodome at a cost of $18 million.

A go-ahead vote for a new roof by the governing group of the Metrodome will be necessary if the stadium is to be ready for the Vikings' exhibition opener and all other events scheduled in mid-August. The Dome's air-supported roof collapsed during the Dec. 11-12 blizzard.

Originally four panels were damaged by weather. A fifth was deliberately opened with a shotgun to relieve pressure from accumulated snow and ice.

The engineering firms that have been evaluating the project are expected to report that replacing, and not repairing, the roof is the only way to solve the problem.

The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has insurance to cover the cost of the replacement roof.

Vikings expect to play

Meanwhile, the Vikings have sent out invoices to season ticket holders with the presumption that the Metrodome will be available for the two home exhibition games in August.

For the second time in three years, the Vikings didn't raise the price of season tickets.

The Vikings, like the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, have interruptible insurance that they expect will help them pay for about 15,000 fans who asked for ticket refunds for the Dec. 20 Bears game played at TCF Bank Stadium.

With tickets costing from $29 to $128, or an average of about $70, the amount that will be refunded or credited to season ticket holders for the 2011 season will be around $1 million.

With the Giants home game being moved to Detroit and the Bears game being held at smaller TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings' 2010 attendance was 470,009, compared to 510,203 in 2009 when all games were played in the Metrodome.

The average gross ticket sales for Vikings games at the Metrodome in 2010 before the roof collapsed was more than$5 million, before the big losses for the Giants game in Detroit and the limited-seating Bears game at TCF Bank Stadium. So at an average of $70 per ticket, the Vikings' income from ticket sales was more than $6 million in 2010.

Nolen out for year?

The word on the future availability of Gophers point guard Al Nolen, who broke his foot in the Jan. 22 game against Michigan, is that there is little or no chance the injury will heal in time for the senior from Minneapolis Henry to play this season.

The Gophers basketball team ranks 28th in the RPI ratings and 24th in strength of schedule.

The Gophers, who face Illinois at Williams Arena on Thursday, only have a 41-40 advantage at home in the series. Illinois leads the overall series 105-59.


Hassan Mead, the Gophers distance runner who has won seven Big Ten titles in track and cross-country, will compete for the first time in 15 months when he runs in the Washington Husky Open in Seattle this weekend. Mead has been sidelined because of a collapsed lung.

Contrary to rumors, Gophers running backs coach Thomas Hammock said he hasn't been contacted by the Badgers about replacing their running backs coach, John Settle, who is headed for the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Hammock was on the Badgers staff in 2003 and 2004 as a graduate assistant. Settle's departure leaves only offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and former Gophers assistant and now Badgers offensive line coach Bob Bostad from head coach Bret Bielema's original staff in 2006.

Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi and football coach Jerry Kill head for Naples, Fla., today to try to do some fundraising for the athletic department.

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops made a good move when he hired former Gophers recruiting director Dan Berezowitz to be the Sooners' on-campus recruiting coordinator. Berezowitz held the same position under former Gophers coach Tim Brewster. Berezowitz had a connection at Oklahoma, because he worked for Mike Stoops, brother of Bob, at the University of Arizona from 2003-2006. Current Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel was on the same Wildcats staff.

Add David Winfield, the Hall of Fame outfielder, to the list of former Gophers who have made contributions to building the new Siebert Field on campus. Paul Molitor and Winfield spoke at a fundraiser for the new field last Friday at TCF Bank Stadium, where close to $100,000 was raised. Another contributor present was former Gophers and major league catcher Dan Wilson, now doing color commentary on Seattle Mariners telecasts.

The Gophers made a big move on their 2012 recruiting list when outstanding junior wide receiver Andre McDonald of Hopkins committed to the Gophers on the junior visiting day last week. ... Visiting the Gophers campus Wednesday was David Cobb, a running back from Killeen (Texas) Ellison, who was recruited hard by Stanford but he didn't have the grades to get in school there.

Adam Boone, the former Gophers guard, has retired from pro basketball after playing three years in Germany and is going to work for Cargill. ... Quincy Lewis, the former Gophers basketball players who is working in fundraising at the U, is an assistant basketball coach under Dave Thorson at DeLaSalle where the team is 17-3. Jonah Travis, one of the Islanders' stars, is headed for Harvard. Riley Dearring, a sophomore who transferred from Hopkins and whose father played at DeLaSalle, is being recruited by the Gophers. Another standout on the team is Bretson McNeal, whose father played and coached at Minneapolis North and also played college basketball for Clem Haskins at Western Kentucky.

The Gophers wrestling team, victors at Ohio State on Saturday, plays host to Penn State here this Sunday. Penn State is coached by 2004 Olympic champion Cael Sanderson, who is the only wrestler to go unbeaten in college. He won four NCAA titles while a student at Iowa State. ... Former Gophers national wrestling champion Dustin Schlatter will represent the U.S. next month at the prestigious Medved tournament in Belarus.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m.