Back at Dome, Vikes repairing an image

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 27, 2011 - 5:30 PM

The Metrodome is back after a collapse last year that symbolized the Vikings' strange season.

hide

Jon Yates put the finishing touches on the Vikings logo at the center of Mall of America Field on Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s game.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Even the night before, there were concerns.

Falling snow was accumulating on the Metrodome roof. Windy conditions prevented removal. As Vikings players and coaches were going to bed the night before their scheduled Dec. 12 game against the New York Giants, there were rumblings of potential problems. The Giants, diverted by weather, were bedding down in Kansas City.

Steve Poppen, the Vikings chief financial officer, got a call from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission that snow levels on the Dome were getting bad. A few hours later, the roof caved in, officially becoming the most powerful metaphor for the 2010 Vikings season.

"We went to bed knowing there could be some issues," said Steve LaCroix, the Vikings VP of sales and marketing. "We didn't expect the Dome to collapse, though. We thought we might have to postpone the game to Monday, needing a day to get back up on the roof during sunlight."

Sunday morning, that all changed. There were flurries of calls with the NFL and the Giants. At breakfast, players were told the news, then met later at Winter Park. By that afternoon, the team was on a flight to Detroit to play the Giants in Ford Field on Monday night.

That was the start of a very strange month.

Two-plus weeks into the job of interim coach, Leslie Frazier had to keep his team together through that trip to Detroit, a home game played on the University of Minnesota's frozen TCF Bank Stadium field, and an extended weather-related stay and a Tuesday night game in Philadelphia.

Strange days.

"Every year I've found myself saying I've seen it all," said tight end Jim Kleinsasser, in his 13th season with the team. "But then I'm always surprised. So I've decided I'm not going to say that anymore."

Tonight the Vikings will make their first appearance in the dome since beating Buffalo on Dec. 5. There is a new roof that allows more light. There is a new field. There will be the same old cacophony from the fans and many of the same issues that have prompted the Vikings to seek a new stadium.

As far as homecomings go, this one might be a mixed blessing.

Season in turmoil

LaCroix pulled out his notes from that weekend to relate a time line. The warning Saturday night, the collapse early Sunday. The meetings. The decision to play in Detroit, which was made just before the originally scheduled noon kickoff.

"You can reflect on all the different things that happened up to that point," LaCroix said of a 2010 season that was already derailed by the time the roof collapsed. It was a strange year that included another late Brett Favre arrival, typical Favre drama, allegations of Favre's texting misconduct and the firing of coach Brad Childress after a one-sided loss to the Packers.

While the playoffs were no longer an issue, the Vikings had won their first two games with Frazier at the helm. Then all kinds of travel broke loose, starting with the trip to Detroit to play the Giants.

"It was a different time for everybody involved, for our fans, for our players, but we got through it," Frazier said. "Our guys stayed together and fought through some adversity and that's part of being in the NFL. ... But the good thing is our guys stuck together and we fought through it, and I think we came out on the other side better for it."

Linebacker Chad Greenway said the Vikings quickly saw how composed Frazier could be during tough times. "He's as steady as they come," Greenway said. "And we trust in what he's saying."

Jared Allen remembers getting a text early Sunday morning from a buddy on the Giants telling him about the collapse.

"I thought he was messing with me," Allen said. "And then I turned on the news and the next thing you know our plane is landing in Detroit. It was actually kind of humorous. I mean, as far as metaphors go, you can't beat that one. "

Said Greenway: "It was a crazy end to a long season. Look at it from start to finish, the things that came about, the way it all progressed. From the moment we walked into training camp until the last game there was something going on."

Now, the homecoming

When it comes to Mall of America Field -- which is how the Vikings refer to the Metrodome after signing a sponsorship deal -- there are mixed emotions among the players. You could see that last week when, while being interviewed on the sidelines in Seattle, Allen took direct aim, calling it the worst venue in the league.

He didn't back down this week.

"It's just a matter of fact that the Metrodome is outdated," he said. "It's the only stadium I've ever been in where I have to ride the vending elevator down to the locker room, where I have to park in the admissions parking lot and walk through the ticket office."

That said, Allen and the players take pains to praise the fans, the noise, the ambiance of game day. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams called it a great atmosphere to play in. Kleinsasser talked about the noise.

"The fans are phenomenal," Allen said. "Imagine what it would be like if we had a nice, new stadium for the fans?"

The Vikings were 18-5 at the dome the past three seasons, so there is definitely a home-field advantage. As Greenway said, the players don't have to deal with any of the fans' gameday problems, whether it be the crowded concourse or long lines at the bathroom. As for any parking hassles or the tight locker room?

"I know it's probably not the best situation for some of the fans," Greenway said. "I know there are some tight spots ... I hear about that from my wife and family.

"But as far as a player? It's as loud as anywhere. We win there. It's a great home-field advantage."

  • PRESEASON HOME OPENER VIKINGS VS. DALLAS

    7 p.m. Saturday • Mall of America Field at Metrodome • TV: Ch. 11 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 56 3rd Qtr
New Orleans 61
Indiana 53 3rd Qtr 10:37
Orlando 51
LA Clippers 57 3rd Qtr 10:23
Phoenix 57
Minnesota 47 3rd Qtr
Atlanta 61
Detroit 9 1st Qtr 4:26
Toronto 18
Milwaukee 22 1st Qtr 3:31
San Antonio 12
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 12 3rd Prd 18:31
Team Foligno 8
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 30 2nd Half
NC State 42
Belmont 23 1st Half 2:01
Tennessee St 29
Creighton 4 1st Half 10:28
Villanova 15
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(15) Duke 70 1st OT
(12) North Carolina 64
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 40 2nd Half 14:40
UCLA 36
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close