Vikings feel right at home at TCF Bank Stadium

Forced to play an outdoor home game for the first time since 1981, Minnesota’s pro team had no problems with the field during a 40-14 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Vikings feel right at home at TCF Bank Stadium

Josh Katzenstein

One of few similarities between TCF Bank Stadium and the Metrodome is that when the Minnesota Vikings look up in either stadium, all they see is white.
Their indoor home since 1982 features a white Teflon roof that collapsed last weekend after a Minneapolis snowstorm, forcing the professional team to play in Detroit last week and at the University of MinnesotaâÄôs second-year stadium on Monday.
TCF Bank Stadium sits just two miles away from the Metrodome, but it doesnâÄôt have the benefit of a room to shield players and fans from inclement weather, such as the snow that swirled throughout the VikingsâÄô 40-14 loss to the Chicago Bears.
Regardless of the weather they saw Monday night, the Vikings felt right at home, and if stadium issues force them to use the GophersâÄô stadium in the future, they wouldnâÄôt mind one bit.
âÄúIt definitely had a little bit different field conditions, and I think it might be a little louder at the Metrodome,âÄù said running back Toby Gerhart, who finished with 77 yards on 16 rushes. âÄúBut there were times here where it was just as loud, and it was just a good place to play tonight.âÄù
In order to ready the field for MondayâÄôs game, the University asked for volunteers to help the paid workers remove snow. All in all, they managed to clear an estimated 40,000 cubic yards of snow during 15,000 man-hours, according to the athletics department.
The same snowstorm that collapsed the MetrodomeâÄôs roof also prevented the Vikings from using the UniversityâÄôs stadium last week when they had to play a home game against the New York Giants at Ford Field in Detroit.
âÄúThis is an opportunity for the fans to support the Vikings,âÄù NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said before the game. âÄúThey lost their home game last week, primarily because we didnâÄôt have sufficient time to play here. I think this is going to be a great thing for the fans tonight.âÄù
And despite not having great expectations for the field, the Vikings players thought the field was fine and didnâÄôt blame it one bit for the loss.
âÄúTonight it felt like a home game,âÄù linebacker Chad Greenway said. âÄúWe just have to play better, and we obviously didnâÄôt do that tonight.âÄù
The only problem that players reported with the field was that it was a little hard, and two Vikings, including quarterback Brett Favre, suffered head injuries during the game. Other than that, the field held up to conditions yet unseen since the Gophers have never hosted a game at TCF Bank Stadium after Nov. 27.
âÄúI thought the field was going to be like we were playing on concrete,âÄù kickoff returner Lorenzo Booker said. âÄúI thought we were going to be sliding everywhere. I had no issues with the turf.âÄù
Players did slide often during the game, but only after being tackled. On FavreâÄôs first pass, receiver Percy Harvin made a diving catch before sliding for about five yards out of bounds.
An announced crowd of 40,504 showed up to see the Vikings play an outdoor home game for the first time since 1981. And although the result was a loss, the game was in many ways a success.
The Minnesota Legislature has rejected numerous plans for a new stadium, and with the VikingsâÄô lease on the Metrodome ending after the 2011 season, the team could soon be homeless. If the Vikings need a place to play during the construction of a stadium they still hope to build in the Twin Cities, Goodell said the NFL could look into using the GophersâÄô stadium.
âÄúIf we get to a point where a solution is identified where maybe [the new stadium] is in the location where the dome is and this needs to be a temporary facility, those are discussions weâÄôre going to have to have,âÄù Goodell said.
Booker initially joked that he wouldnâÄôt want to play at TCF Bank Stadium again, where the wind-chill was just nine degrees at kickoff. But the California native reconsidered and said, âÄúThis is pro football, and it doesnâÄôt matter where you play. YouâÄôre going to play some bad weather games.âÄù
Gerhart, a rookie, had a similar sentiment about the unclear future facing the VikingsâÄô home.
âÄúWeâÄôll play where we play,âÄù he said. âÄúAll that stuffâÄôs beyond our control. WeâÄôll play wherever.âÄù
Related:
No sell-out, but 40k fans brave snow to see first outdoor Vikings game since ’81

 U says stadium will be ready (12/15)
– TCF Bank Stadium will host Vikings game (12/14)
– Snow causes Metrodome roof to cave in (12/12)