Fans invade Metrodome of eve of the Vikings final game there

  • Article by: MAYA RAO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2013 - 8:24 AM
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Eight-year-old Jaxen Peterson of Ventura, Iowa, played football on the Metrodome turf Saturday with his father, Brian (tackling Jaxen) and his older brother, Ty, 10, who was out of the picture. Brian said that Vikings season tickets have been in his family since 1980, when his father first bought tickets for games at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. JIM GEHRZ • jgehrz@ startribune.com

Vikings die-hards, 6,000 strong, streamed into the Metrodome on Saturday evening to snap pictures on the field, toss footballs around and peek into the locker room of their favorite football team on the eve of the last game at the 31-year-old stadium.

“It’s awe-inspiring,” said Dino Neis as he stood in the end zone, taking in the scene.

Neis has been driving a party bus from St. Cloud to Vikings games for more than six years, typically dropping fans off at the door but never going inside. He has had to watch the team on TV at bars or at his sister’s house while he waits for the customers.

It wasn’t until Saturday that he grabbed his chance to stand on Mall of America Field at the invitation of his boss.

The event was a prelude to the Vikings’ final game there Sunday, before they play two seasons at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium while a new stadium is built. Plans are to demolish the dome, beginning in January.

After catching a ball thrown by his boss’ young son, Neis playfully reprimanded him: “You’re never going to be a Viking if you throw the ball where someone can catch it!”

A few minutes later — whack! — the ball smacked Neis in the neck while he was turned away. “See, now you could be a Viking — you throw it when somebody’s not looking!” he told the offender.

The festivities drew one fan from Wyoming — Dawn Brehmer drove 800 miles to attend Sunday’s game. She grew up in Minnesota, and had her husband, Eric, take pictures of her in front of the Vikings ship on the field.

“I remember them building this [stadium],” she reminisced.

Nearby, Paul Podemski stretched out on the floor as though he were catching a ball as his son took a photo.

“A lot of touchdowns have been scored in this end zone,” said Podemski of Duluth, wearing Adrian Peterson’s All-Pro jersey. His family has held season tickets for 32 years.

Tears welled in Marcie Petrie’s eyes as she looked around, reflecting on all the games where she had cheered. She and her husband, Sam, waited in a line that stretched halfway across the field for more than 20 minutes so she could get a photo at the goalpost.

“Touchdown!” Petrie exclaimed as her husband snapped a picture of her in the end zone leaning to catch an imaginary ball. Then she went to the goalpost and threw her hands in the air before wrapping her arms around it. Two more photos.

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Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 2
Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister 3 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle - LP: F. Rodney 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 3
Boston 4 Bottom 11th Inning
Chicago WSox 3
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: J. Williams 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland 4 Bottom 7th Inning
LA Angels 1
Colorado 1 Bottom 7th Inning
San Diego 4
Los Angeles 1 Bottom 7th Inning
San Francisco 1
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 111 FINAL
Milwaukee 103
Dallas 105 FINAL
Memphis 106
Detroit 111 FINAL
Oklahoma City 112
Houston 100 FINAL
New Orleans 105
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Brooklyn 85 FINAL
Cleveland 114
Philadelphia 100 FINAL
Miami 87
Utah 136 FINAL
Minnesota 130
Washington 118 FINAL
Boston 102
Toronto 92 FINAL
New York 95
Golden State 83 3rd Qtr 1:45
Denver 75
LA Clippers 77 3rd Qtr 3:35
Portland 76
Phoenix 79 4th Qtr 10:11
Sacramento 78
Montreal 5 FINAL(OT)
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 2 3rd Prd 15:05
Anaheim 4
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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