Preface: Maybe we're wrong. Or, if you're a conspiracy theorist, maybe this is just part of an elaborate plan to keep a certain number of fans away from 50,000-seat TCF Bank Stadium for what is expected to be an outdoor Monday Night Football game between the Vikings and Bears.

And, regardless: This has been an extraordinary week filled with rare challenges for an NFL team. A top-five snowstorm. A stadium that will no longer work because the roof caved in. Right before a 50th anniversary celebration featuring the franchise's top players. These, quite, simply, are not the things for which contingency plans are typically made.

All that said: Monday Night --> More like Monday Nightmare.


The Vikings' recently announced ticket policy for Monday Night at TCF Bank Stadium includes these gems:

*All ticket holders will use their Vikings-Bears game tickets for Mall of America Field at the Metrodome to enter TCF Bank Stadium and seating will be general admission by lower and upper levels. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. for those 100 level ticket holders with line queues starting at 4:00 p.m. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. for those 200 level ticket holders.

In other words, show up early and get ready to run if you want a good seat. Check that, if you want a seat at all. Because ...

*IMPORTANT: This is a first-come, first-served event. The Vikings anticipate this game to be well-attended and having a valid ticket does not guarantee admittance into TCF Bank Stadium. In the event that some ticket holders are turned away on game night due to capacity, only the original ticket account owners will receive a full refund.

So you might not get to go to the game, even if you go to the game and have a ticket. But at least you'll get your money back. Or, er, what does this other part mean?

*Season Ticket Owners that do not use their tickets will receive full credit on their account if the ticket goes unused AND is mailed to the Vikings Ticket Office (425 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55415) POST-MARKED by Saturday, December 18.

We're confused. Seriously, there might just be something we're not understanding -- a distinction between certain types of ticket holders, maybe? But how can you go to the game and get turned away and get a refund later if you have to turn in your ticket by Saturday to get a refund? Then again, do you really want to go after you find out the next part has been confirmed?

*The Vikings and the University of Minnesota have agreed no alcoholic beverages will be served. No outside food or beverages will be allowed into the stadium. Game parking details will be announced in the coming days.

To recap: If you have a good seat and want it to remain a good seat, you will be outside in cold weather for roughly 7 hours (park at 3:45, get to the line at 4 p.m., get into the outdoor stadium an hour later, huddle up for a couple of hours, watch Joe Webb or Patrick Ramsey sling the ball around for a non-playoff team, enjoy the anniversary celebration, game ends at 10:30, back to the car by 10:45). Show up later, and you risk not getting into the game at all. And regardless, you will not be able to purchase a beer (as a co-worker called it, "First come, no one served.")

Maybe there really wasn't a better way and everything will work out fine in the end. We know that regardless there should be some very cool aspects of this game. But it sure sounds like a huge nightmare on a lot of levels.

Your thoughts, as usual, in the comments.

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