There were empty seats to be found in the Metrodome through the 1990s, even as Dennis Green was coaching the Vikings into the playoffs on a regular basis. Then, in 1998, Randy Moss was drafted. A younger crowd adopted this football outlaw immediately and started to fill the building all the way to its Teflon sky.
The Moss crowd proved to be rowdier, fueled by what seemed to be an even greater fondness for mood-altering beverages than their Purple predecessors.
Surprisingly, they also have seemed to enter new seasons with a higher degree of optimism than did we earlier generations of Vikings followers made cynical by four Super Bowl losses.
It is sad to report that those randy fans brought to Vikings' zealotry by Randy are now getting age on them and becoming sedentary.
How else could be explained the low-key and compliant behavior that took place on Sunday, as the Vikings closed down the Metrodome with a 14-13 victory over their favorite whipping boys, the Detroit Lions?
Thirty-two years earlier, a Vikings crowd sneaked in huge quantities of whiskey and tools (in that order), spent the afternoon getting sloshed and then tore apart Met Stadium after its finale -- a 10-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Weapons of harmless destruction were much more difficult to smuggle past security and through the revolving doors for the Dome's final hours as home to the Vikings, but, dang, it didn't look as if anyone even gave it a try.
All these now 35-, 40-year-olds who had become season-ticket holders because of Randy Moss -- the master of defiance -- and here they were, caving in to the threats made by Dome officials to be extra-diligent in preventing hooliganism.
These two lousy teams battled ineptly for 2 1/2 hours, and then the Lions as is their custom figured out a way to lose down the stretch. The Vikings knelt away the final two minutes of their 24th victory in 31 Metrodome games against Detroit.
As the last seconds expired, we stood in the press box and leaned forward, peering here and there, waiting for well-lubricated scoundrels to attack the field in such numbers that the extra security would have to concede the tear down of at least one goal post.
I didn't see one person leap from the wall and head for the field ... didn't see one inebriated soul trying to rush the home sideline and capture a Vikings' souvenir. Was there one drunk handyman in the entire Dome with a bolt cutter, removing seats at the request of sentimental ticket holders?
"I still have in my possession Bud Grant's headset, which I snatched off the sideline on that last day at the Met,'' said Bill M., a guy pushing 60. "I treasure that as a remembrance of the Met.
"Today, we stuck around to see what the younger folks were going to do when the game ended. They did nothing.''
It was a disgusting display of orderliness. If you remain spry and participated in this civility, you have disgraced your parents, your uncles and maybe even your aunts who risked life, limb and livers to tear apart Met Stadium on Dec. 20, 1981.
Even worse, you have lost the right to call yourself a hardcore fan of Randy Moss.
Do you think your hero would have been intimidated by a few phony-baloney bureaucrats threatening extra security? Not a chance. Randy would have taken any piece of the Dome he wanted, or gotten arrested trying.
This was a shameful way for the generations raised in the Metrodome to say goodbye to their stadium. My generation, the Met's generation ... we did ourselves proud on our stadium's last day. We took away everything, including items that had been bolted down.
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