Snow damages Metrodome
Collapsed roof sends Vikings, Giants away
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings’ home game against the New York Giants tonight was moved to Detroit after the Metrodome’s inflated roof collapsed in a snowstorm early yesterday morning.
The game originally was scheduled for yesterday afternoon and already had been pushed back because of the storm that dumped 17 inches of snow on Minneapolis. The weight of the snow caused a tear in the Teflon roof, and snow fell through the ceiling and onto the Metrodome field.
No one was hurt, but the roof collapse sent the league and both teams scrambling.
Metrodome officials told the league the roof wouldn’t be ready in time to play tonight or tomorrow. The league had discussions with New Orleans, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, and briefly considered the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium before deciding to hold the game at
University of Minnesota officials told the NFL that TCF Bank Stadium was shut down for the winter and would take several days to prepare for another game. Removing all the snow, figuring out how to cram 64,000 Metrodome fans into a 50,000-seat stadium, and the fact that the Giants did not bring any cold-weather gear with them all combined to make that site problematic.
“The one thing I was not crazy about was playing at the University of Minnesota where they were predicting the windchill would be minus-11,’’ Giants co-owner John Mara said. “That would have created a lot of issues for us.’’
The Giants were stranded in Kansas City after their plane was diverted there Saturday. They stayed overnight and landed in Detroit yesterday afternoon.
“This [game] presents more challenges than I can ever remember,’’ Mara said.
The NFL said Detroit was the best logistical fit given that Fox Network camera crews were already in town for the Lions’ game against the Green Bay Packers yesterday.
“There are still a lot of logistics up in the air, but we will do everything we can to make this a quality NFL game for the Vikings and Giants,’’ Lions president Tom Lewand said.
The Vikings are scheduled to host the Chicago Bears next Monday night, and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Roy Terwilliger said he’s optimistic the roof can be repaired in time.
It’s the fourth time in the Metrodome’s 29-year history that the roof has collapsed. The only time before yesterday that a game has been postponed because of roof failure was April 14, 1983, when a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and California Angels had to be rescheduled.
The Vikings are refunding the cost of the tickets for the game for any fans who can’t make it to Detroit. Those who do will be given priority seating along the 50-yard line and the Lions will distribute free general admission tickets.