The Minnesota Vikings will play their second straight Monday night “home” game tonight, although this one will be a result of design rather than circumstance, and will actually be played within the state of Minnesota. But not everyone’s happy about it. The beer has been shut off (even in the parking lots) and the conditions of the field at TCF Bank Stadium–home to Minnesota’s Golden Gophers–are a bit suspect. Is it a worse plan than just ripping the roof off the Metrodome? Vikes punter Chris Kluwe thinks so.
“The field is as hard as concrete an hour and a half after they took the tarp off, and anyone that hits their head is getting a concussion. … I find it interesting that the NFL can claim an emphasis on player safety, and then tell us the field is fine. It’s beyond hypocritical. … I can only hope, however unlikely, that no one gets catastrophically injured at the trainwreck that’s about to take place tomorrow night.”
Via Twitter, Kluwe said he had been asked to stop tweeting about the playing conditions.
Of course, the old Minnesota Vikings had their own opinions on the impending conditions tonight as well. Remember that the Vikings franchise held its games in the elements before the Metrodome opened in 1982. The old-timers were very sympathetic to their young counterparts. Just kidding, they barely stopped short of insulting their collective manhood.
“You’ve got to learn to tough it up,” said former running back Chuck Foreman, who played for the Vikings from 1973-79. “That field will be perfect to play on. That’s the way the game has been played for years. These guys get spoiled. Go out there, embrace the weather, enjoy it. Just keep yourself warm. It’s all mental.”[..]
“If you get caught up in how cold it is or the field’s too hard or you can’t get your cleats in the field, you’ve got no shot,” [former Vikings receiver Ahmad] Rashad said. “It’s the same for both teams; you just have to go out there and execute.”
Whoa. It’s pretty bad when Ahmad Rashad starts calling you out. Better suck it up, fellas.
The Bears should be looking to atone for their 36-7 debacle at the hands of the Patriots last week. Next week, the Bears will host the Jets in Chicago, and then they’ll finish their season at Green Bay. And if the majority of the team can avoid frostbite, they’ll probably host a playoff game. When one considers that Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Atlanta could also get post-season bids, having home field doesn’t sound very advantageous…