Torn away from home: Metrodome roof collapse moves Vikings game to Detroit tonightEighteen to 20 inches of Minnesota snow ripped holes through the Metrodome, scrambled the NFL's scheduling plans and stole the Vikings' home-field advantage, pushing what was once a noon Sunday kickoff against the Giants to a neutral-site game in Ford Field at 6:20 tonight.
By: Jeremy Fowler, St. Paul Pioneer Press / MCT
Once the shock wore off, once teammates had watched the earthquake-like online videos of the Metrodome roof collapsing a few times, the Vikings accepted their fate.
They were headed to Detroit.
Eighteen to 20 inches of Minnesota snow ripped holes through the Metrodome, scrambled the NFL's scheduling plans and stole the Vikings' home-field advantage, pushing what was once a noon Sunday kickoff against the Giants to a neutral-site game in Ford Field at 6:20 tonight.
Coach Leslie Frazier said the team will miss the home-field advantage of playing in the Metrodome, but the Vikings realize their slim playoff hopes exist because of Green Bay's loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Vikings (5-7) must win their remaining four games to have a remote chance at the postseason.
"Our guys are resilient; they're professionals," Frazier said. "This is what they do for a living. They'll adjust."
Any ticket holders for the originally scheduled game will be admitted to Ford Field and receive "preferred seating along the 50-yard line," the Vikings announced, or they can receive refunds. Free general-admission tickets will be available at Ford Field's box office starting at 8 a.m.
Fox will televise the game in New York City and the Twin Cities, as well as the Duluth, Rochester and Mankato, Minn., markets.
The game had to be moved from Minneapolis because TCF Bank Stadium, where the University of Minnesota plays, was not a viable option.
Vikings could be the lost puppies of the NFL during the season's last four weeks should the Minneapolis Sports Facilities Commission -- which is flying in specialists from across the country in an effort to repair three rips in the Metrodome roof -- fail to set the table for the Dec. 20 matchup with the Chicago Bears on "Monday Night Football." The Vikings finish the season with games at Philadelphia and Detroit.
As punter Chris Kluwe joked, this team has been through worse. In a season of circus-like proportions, the Vikings have endured a 3-7 start, coach Brad Childress' firing, Brett Favre's NFL investigation and the curious waiving of Randy Moss.
The team treated Sunday as if it was a normal travel-day preparation, holding team meetings and conducting a walk-through before flying to Detroit on Sunday evening. The Giants (8-4), who stayed overnight in Kansas City on Saturday because of the snowstorm in the Twin Cities, also traveled to Detroit on Sunday.
"Just when you think we've seen it all, there's always tomorrow," Kluwe said. "Hopefully, we'll make it as much of a normal road game as possible. The Giants have to go through the exact situation, so it's pretty much even."
Quarterback Brett Favre, who is nursing a sprained sternoclavicular joint, now has more time to treat the injury that left him questionable for the original Sunday kickoff.
Favre is looking to start his 298th consecutive game at quarterback, easily an NFL record for nonkickers, but the NFL Network reported Sunday that the quarterback told some teammates he would end the streak because of the shoulder pain.
Frazier said Favre, who favored rest and treatment over attempting passes over the weekend, still has a chance to play, despite reports.
"Especially getting an extra day," Frazier said. "So, no, I am not aware of (reports)."
The Vikings discussed taking wide receiver Percy Harvin (migraines) on the trip, but Frazier said nothing was finalized. Harvin, the team's leading receiver with 627 receiving yards, missed last week's 38-14 win over Buffalo because of migraine-related incidents.
The team has been informed that Metrodome officials are hopeful the roof will be up and running by the Chicago game, but watching the footage of the collapse didn't give those in the locker room much encouragement.
"I'd be very impressed if they do," Kluwe said.
TCF Bank Stadium could still be an option for Dec. 20 if the Gophers can prepare quickly.
There's still no replacing the comfort of 134 consecutive sellouts in the Metrodome, where the Vikings are 4-2 this season.
"That is a tremendous home-field advantage," Frazier said. "We would have loved to play this game at home, no question about it. But, we have to go and get done what we anticipated getting done at home, regardless of the fact that we have to go to Detroit to get it done. Our goal is to get a win."
Road trip, anybody? Frazier is in favor of purple-fueled RVs headed to Detroit on short notice.
"If that is the case, we will get some semblance of what we would have gotten if we had actually played at home," Frazier said.