Due to the Twin Cities' snowstorm that caused the Metrodome roof to tear and then eventually collapse (must see-video here), the Vikings' circus of a 2010 season added another ring Sunday morning.
The Purple's home game against the 8-4 New York Giants will be moved to indoor Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions.[jump]
On Sunday afternoon, the Lions upset visiting Green Bay, 7-3.
Kickoff for the game will be at 6:20 Central and will be televised on FOX. Tickets to the game are free (at the Ford Field box office) and those who held tix for the Sunday set in Minneapolis will be given preferred seating along the 50-yard line; those who can't make the trip will be given full refunds. The Golden Gophers' football home, TCF Bank Stadium, was considered as a game site but University of Minnesota officials said that "The Bank" had been closed for the winter and could not be ready in time for a Monday game.
(UPDATE: The Lions sent out a press release just before 10 a.m. Central informing that -- due to an overwhelming response for the free tickets -- they were done distributing them because of the need to save seats for Vikings' ticketholders making the travel to Detroit. It's been estimated that the Lions gave out 30,000 of the free tix.)
That the 5-7 Vikings' have added another chapter to what has become one of the most bizarre seasons in the history of professional sport should perhaps come as no surprise at this juncture. Monday night's game serves as the second time the Vikings have played on a Monday in this twisted season. The first? That was their Week 5 road loss versus the Jets that was (shock) delayed 45-minutes because on intense thunderstorms.
The Vikings vs. Giants game now gives the NFL a double-feature on Monday night (Baltimore at Houston is the scheduled game). The simultaneous Monday night contests mark just the third time there has been such an occurrence since the NFL began scheduling Monday Night Football in 1970. Among the other two occurrences? Get ready for it . . . it was when the Vikings and Broncos game was rescheduled on Sunday in Week 6 of 1987 when the Twins were busy taking Game 7 of the World Series from St. Louis inside the Dome.
And of course: the Vikings are scheduled to host the Chicago Bears next week on (take a shot of bourbon now) Monday Night Football at (swallow, now smoke a cig) the Metrodome. At present, there is no confirmed news of when and where that game will take place, however (just took my own shot) I could find no historic occurrence of an NFL team playing consecutive Monday night games.
(UPDATE: But don't necessarily count out TCF as a potential location for the Vikings vs. Bears game next week on Monday Night Football.)
On Sunday, Roy Terwilliger, chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commision (which operates the Dome) said of a repiar timeline:
"We don't believe it's possible to play the game or have the facility's roof repaired Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Our chief concern right now is whether it will be available for the Dec. 20 game against the Chicago Bears."
Terwilliger told the NFL, along with Vikings and Giants officials in the same conference call, that repair crews were being flown in to Minneapolis to fix the Dome's teflon tear.
Meanwhile, the Vikings and Giants game serves as a rare spotlight for Detroit -- the city hasn't hosted a Monday night game since the Pontiac Silverdome's farewell season of 2001.
Prior to our blizzard, the Vikings were 3-point underdogs to the Giants as the Purple sought
(UPDATE: The Vikings have now been listed as 4-point underdogs.)
Adding to the insanity is the availability of Brett Favre, who would extend his consecutive starts streak to 298 regular-season games should he indeed play against the Giants. Favre injured his throwing shoulder on his first pass attempt in the Vikings' 38-14 win over the Bills on December 5th, and then had only limited participation in practice during the end of last week.
On Sunday, Favre's ESPN lapdog Ed Werder reported that the 41-year-old graybeard was uncertain of his status even considering the extra 30-plus hours of time afforded via the rescheduling. Favre went on to tell Werder that:
"I'm probably as confused as I've ever been about whether I should play. I really don't know. Of all the games I've played during the streak where I've been injured, this is probably the most indecisive I've been."
Now that's saying something.
(UPDATE: Favre indeed traveled with the team and the Vikings plan to work him out on Ford Field late this afternoon).
And while Werder voiced the Favre drama (although I still say
|Image courtesy of shgmom56|
that Favre plays), New York Giants media relations director Pan Hanlon typed out his side's blizzard-driven yarn via an active Twitter feed (@giantspathanlon) that detailed the G-Men's own theater since their T.C.-bound flight was re-directed to Kansas City on Saturday. Among the consistently-entertaining nuggets was Hanlon's note of a fire alarm at the Giants' hotel.
The gridiron implications of the relocation/reschedule create a curious scenario for both teams. The Vikings are 4-2 are the Dome this year, but claim just a lone road win since last November 1st. That they're a fine 7-1 at Ford Field in the stadium's history likely speaks more to their lowly opponent than their road acumen.
The Giants, also winners to two straight, are 3-2 on the road this season and are in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt. The Pack's loss to the Lions surely gave the desperate Vikings an extra breath in their own postseason pursuits, but that slip really serves as just one of several prayers the Purple will need answered in the next month if they are to indeed advance.
New York sports a potent offense, averaging 25.7 points per game, good for 5th in the league. The Vikings will need to cut off the two-headed backfield monster of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs (combining for over 132 ground yards per) and force quarterback Eli Manning into bad decisions. Manning is second in the NFL with 17 INT's; the league-leader is Favre, with 18. New York as a team tops the NFL with 31 giveaways on the season.
The Giants' defense ranks in the league's top-seven in defending both the run and the pass and is tops in the NFC (tied) with 35 sacks. Should the Purple remain perfect in the Leslie Frazier, they'll require stellar ball-contro and excellent line play mixed with some faux home love from our NFC North brethren along the way. Vibing the strangeness of this event, I say the Vikings give Ford Field its second home victor in as many days.
New York Giants 20