The Minnesota Vikings will not be in the playoffs this year, but the team has nonetheless become interesting, possibly more interesting than if they were still in the running.
For one thing, Ziggy fired the coach and one of the under-coaches has taken over, and it is interesting to see how he handles his new job. Very well, it would seem. Also, Brett Favre closed out his “Ironman” streak of never missing a game in … several decades? Whatever, a very long time, owing to an actual life threatening injury. The injury will be managed, but both surgery and getting beat up on the field could loosen an aneurysm that would kill even him. Anyway, because he has played less, our other quarterback, Tavaris Jackson, has gotten to play, and he’s quite good except when he makes the devastating rookie mistake now and then. Then, Tavaris got injured, so we got to find out that we have a THIRD quarterback. Bet you didn’t know that!
Then, the Metrodome roof collapsed, in Fine Minneapolis Tradition of collapsing stuff (remember our bridge?). That was spectacular.
But the really interesting event is yet to happen. This will be Monday Night when the Vikings play some NFL team or another (who keeps track of these details?) in the TCF Bank Stadium. Why will this be interesting you ask? I’ll tell you.
The TCF Bank stadium, named after a Minnesota Gophers football player of a bygone era who was also a war hero and eventually president of the school, is the UMN stadium just built last year. It is in “Southeast Minneapolis” across the river form the Metrodome, which is downtown. Actually, TCF Bank stadium is in a neighborhood called, enigmatically, “Stadium Village.” I assume that’s named after some University persona of the old days as well, or perhaps a local developer.
Anyway, TCF stadium is an open air structure. So, several hundred people were tricked into removing the 17 inches of snow that fell into the stadium during the same storm that crushed the metrodome. That was difficult, as the stadium was not really designed to be used in the winter. I mean, really, why would you build a giant expensive stadium in Minnesota, on a University campus that is mainly closed for the summer, and plan to use it during the Winter?
Then, a couple of more inches of snow fell, so that got removed too.
The TCF Bank Stadium holds about 40,000 people. The Metrodome, before it’s (temporary) demise, holds about 60,000 people. And, those seats were all sold for Monday’s game.
Now, I am guessing that something like this has never happened before ’round these parts, because the people in charge of these things have come up with the most idiotic possible solution. They are going to seat people who show up at the game with Vikings tickets … wait for it … on a first come first serve basis.
So, at some point, tomorrow night, there are going to be 20,000 vikings fans outside the stadium who will not be allowed in because they arrived late because they got stuck in rush hour traffic on the way there and could not find a parking place (because the TCF Bank Stadium was built on the old parking lot!!!).
There will be about 60,000 vikings fans with tickets standing around outside the stadium for several hours, arrived early to make sure they could get a seat, who will be allowed to rush the doors when they open at an as yet unspecified time.
There may be pandemonium.
But wait, there’s more.
Because it is a University of Minnesota sports facility, and the University of Minnesota has dropped all pretense of in loco parentus, it is dry. And by “dry” I’m not talking about arid. I’m talking about no booze sold or allowed on the premises.
There are about 25 restaurants and bars that sell booze within close proximity of the stadium, in Stadium Village and Dinkytown (named thus by Bob Dylan, it is said). Many of these establishments have applied for and received “expansion permits” which allows them to construct, and sell booze in, temporary outdoor structures such as circus tents. In the parking lots. Where now there will be no room for the cars of those of the 60,000 people coming to get to the game.
(Yes, yes, there is a light rail leading right to the stadium from the surrounding areas …. which will be built some time over the next five years or so. Doh.)
By the way, I should mention that the city has not finished digging out from the last big storm, so there is still parking on only one side off the street. Under these conditions, after work hours, many of the ramps (that’s what we Minnesotans call a “parking lot”) are used by locals to get their cars off the roads. The roofs of the ramps have reduced spaces because they are piled with snow, and the open air parking lots are also reduced in size because of the snow. So, no, we really can’t handle this influx of Vikings fans on this side of town at all. Not at all. It will be pandemonium.
So, 60,000 Vikings fans milling around Stadium village on a pub crawl, getting drunker and drunker, with groups of five to ten individuals trading off on keeping a place in line wile the others drink … oh man, I can see it now. Pandemonium. Lots of it.
But wait, there’s more.
As I mentioned, TCF Bank Stadium was not built for winter use. It has natural turf. This is Minnesota and the ambient temperature has hovered between about -10 and +14 F over the last week or so. Do the math. The surface of the stadium is frozen solid.
Chris Kluwe is our punter. Excellent punter. Someday they will name a stadium after him. CK Bank Stadium. Anyway, Kluwe tweets, and when he was inspecting the stadium earlier today, he tweeted thusly (remember to read from the bottom to the top for full effect):
Huh. The people organizing this day of pandemonium claim that everything will be fine, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work. As Kluwe points out, if tomorrow’s blizzard (yes, we are expecting a blizzard to be raging during this whole time with the 60,000 angry drunk Vikings fans with no place to park) drops enough snow, that may soften the field up a bit.