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

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 14 3rd Qtr 7:21
Arizona 3
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 1 2nd Prd 1:32
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 21 2nd Half 11:35
Texas-El Paso 55
Sacramento St 17 2nd Half
Seattle 30
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 35 2nd Half 13:32
Old Dominion 39
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 Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close