Minnesota Vikings fans battled snow, traffic snarls and dropping temperatures, forcing them to navigate treacherous roads to and from the NFC playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.
Even the stadium itself was braced against the weather: Its massive swinging doors on one side of the stadium remained closed to ward off the snow and intense cold.
The snow started midafternoon just as tens of thousands of fans streamed into the indoor stadium.
Deb Schultz said driving down from Duluth took an extra 30 minutes because of weather conditions and an accident on Interstate 35W.
“The cars were slipping and sliding so we had to slow down a lot,” Schultz said.
Reports from fans arriving from the south were similar. Deb Jensen said snowy roads and bumper-to-bumper traffic added an extra 45 minutes to the trek from Algona, Iowa. But she and her husband booked their parking online so they avoided problems there, she said.
Plenty of Vikings enthusiasts said the weather didn’t trip up their plans at all, and it didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the purple-clad fans.
About 2 inches of snow had fallen by game time in the Twin Cities on Sunday, with another inch expected, according to the National Weather Service. The temperature hovered around 15 degrees, with windchills expected to dip to 10 to 20 below by Monday morning.
Snow-related traffic problems caused cars to slow to a crawl from about 2:30 to 3 p.m., said Dallas Clark of Minneapolis. It took 30 minutes to go 2 miles, said Clark, who was in the vicinity of Kieran’s Irish Pub and Target Center.
Treasure Johnson said she arrived 20 minutes later than expected because of the snail’s pace of traffic coming from Farmington in the south metro. It didn’t help that police had blocked off some streets leading into the city, others in her party added.
Anticipating snow, Stephannie Miller and her husband took an Uber into the city early, grabbing a leisurely bite at the Local before the game.
Miller said she and her husband, season-ticket holders from Edina, were a little nervous about missing the kickoff as they hurried along snow-covered sidewalks downtown.
But the weather itself wasn’t a problem: “We love the snow,” Miller said.
Paul Walsh contributed to this report.