Dome damage moves Giants-Vikes
Brett Favre is getting help from the Minnesota Vikings’ medical staff, the athletic trainers and perhaps even the weather gods as he tries to keep his incredible consecutive starts record going.
The Vikings’ home game against the New York Giants was moved to Monday night in Detroit after the Metrodome’s inflated roof collapsed in a snowstorm early Sunday morning.
The delay has given Favre more time to heal his sprained right shoulder, with his NFL-record streak of 297 straight regular season starts hanging in the balance.
”Joke goin round is Gods Tryin to preserve Bretts streak record,” Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian wrote on Twitter. ”Lol!!”
Favre barely practiced all week. He’s listed as questionable for the game after getting hit hard and slammed to the turf on his first pass of last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
Favre sent a text message to USA Today on Sunday saying he doubts he will be able to play on Monday night ”but it does buy a little time.”
Interim coach Leslie Frazier said the 41-year-old quarterback will still go through a pregame workout to determine if he’s able to play.
”From everything I’ve seen, there is still a possibility he could play, especially with an extra day,” Frazier said in a conference call Sunday before the Vikings departed for Detroit.
The Vikings held a short walkthrough Sunday afternoon, but Favre did not do any throwing.
”Rest is as important as anything to him,” Frazier said, ”and the fact that he’s actually going through the throwing motion, we’ll still get a chance to test some things out (Monday).”
The game originally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon and already had been pushed back because of the storm that dumped 17 inches of snow on Minneapolis.
But Metrodome officials told the league the roof wouldn’t be ready in time to play Monday or Tuesday. The league also 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 Ford Field at 7:20 p.m.
The NFL said Detroit was the best logistical fit given that Fox camera crews were already in town for the Lions’ game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Because of ESPN’s exclusivity rights for Monday Night Football, the Giants-Vikings game will only be shown on FOX affiliates on four Minnesota stations: KMSP in Minneapolis, KEYC in Mankato, KXLT in Rochester and KQDS in Duluth. In New York, the game will air on WNYW. The game will also be on air in Albany, N.Y., as well as on DirecTV.
”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 refunding the cost of the tickets for the game for any fans who can’t make it to Detroit. Those that do will be given priority seating along the 50-yard line and the Lions will distribute free general admission tickets starting at 9 a.m.
The game will be broadcast in both local markets on Fox affiliates and will also be available as part of DirectTV’s Sunday Ticket package.
It will be the first Monday night game at Ford Field and first in Michigan since the Pontiac Silverdome hosted one in 2001.
No one was hurt, but the roof collapse sent the league and both teams scrambling.
The Giants were stranded in Kansas City after their plane was diverted there Saturday. They stayed overnight and landed in Detroit on Sunday afternoon.
”This one presents more challenges than I can ever remember,” Giants co-owner John Mara said. ”We were stranded in the airport yesterday not knowing where we were going to go.”
Giants quarterback Eli Manning tried to lighten the mood of his restless teammates by ordering the rookies to sing and said the team will be ready come kickoff.
”This is different, but I thought we’ve kept good spirits and good focus,” Manning said. ”We understand that this is an important game and it’s going to come down to who treats it with a business-like mentality and stays prepared.”
The Vikings are scheduled to host the Chicago Bears for a Monday night game next week, and Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chairman Roy Terwilliger said he’s optimistic the roof can be repaired in time. That would take a lot of work, though, considering the size of the holes and the wintry conditions.
The roof collapse is a fitting metaphor in a trying season for the Vikings that has included: the firing of coach Brad Childress; the investigation of Favre for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a Jets hostess 2008; the disappointing play of a 5-7 team that had Super Bowl aspirations.
”I think this is officially the craziest season ever; now the roof collapses at the metrodome,” Vikings defensive end Brian Robison tweeted. ”Can’t wait to see what happens now. Let’s make it even crazier and just take the roof off and play outside.”
Tweeted punter Chris Kluwe: ”Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always tomorrow.”
It’s the fourth time in the building’s 29-year history that the roof has collapsed. The roof tore open, spilling tons of snow onto the playing field and erasing the familiar puffy white top from the east side of the downtown skyline.
The only time before Sunday 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.
”Our guys are resilient, they’re professionals, they’ll adjust,” Frazier said.
The Giants clearly must be tired of these trips to Minnesota. The Vikings and Giants are set to play for the ninth time in the last 10 regular seasons, a scheduling quirk that has slated seven of those meetings – this year would have been three in a row – for Minnesota. The Vikings have beaten the Giants four straight times.
”They have really taken it in stride very well,” Mara said of the players. ”They have been laughing and joking about it. They have taken it about as well as possibly can be expected and that includes the head coach by the way.”