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Dome official: Monday game unlikely after collapse
Question of the Day
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Giants-Vikings game is not likely to be played Monday night after the Metrodome’s inflated roof collapsed in a snowstorm that had already forced the game to be delayed a day.
The dome suffered damage to two of its triangle-shaped panels and that workers were still assessing the situation, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Executive Director Bill Lester said Sunday.
Concerns about high winds for the crew clearing snow from the roof prompted the commission to recommend Saturday to the NFL that the game be pushed back from Sunday afternoon to Monday night. It had been scheduled for 8 p.m. EST.
The delay had already given Vikings quarterback Brett Favre more time to heal his sprained shoulder and see if he can extend his NFL-record streak of 297 straight games started, but now Favre could have even more of a break.
More than 16 inches of snow fell in Minneapolis over a 24-hour span Saturday, with winds gusting over 30 mph. The storm kept the Giants from flying to Minnesota, forcing them to land in Kansas City, Mo., and stay there overnight.
The University of Minnesota has a 50,000-seat outdoor stadium a few miles from the Metrodome, but it’s uncertain whether that’s an option given the conditions, the timing and the size of the facility.
The Metrodome roof is 10 acres of Teflon-coated fiberglass that is supported by 20 90-horsepower fans. It weighs roughly 580,000 pounds and has failed three times previously.
Less than two months after it opened in 1981, a storm that dumped more than 10 inches of snow on the Twin Cities caused the roof to partially deflate. A bolt tore through the fabric allowing air to escape and the roof came down. It took four days to repair the roof and re-inflate it.
The only time prior to Sunday that a game has been postponed because of roof failure was April 14, 1983, when a game between the Minnesota Twins and California Angels had to be rescheduled.
On Sunday morning, the puffy white top that frames the east side of the downtown skyline was sunken toward the stadium bowl, as the NFL, Vikings and stadium officials held conference calls to discuss the situation.
League spokesman Greg Aiello didn’t immediately return a message.
“So I think this is officially the craziest season ever; now the roof collapses at the metrodome,” Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said on Twitter. “Can’t wait to see what happens now. Let’s make it even crazier and just take the roof off and play outside.”
From head coach Brad Childress being fired to Favre being investigated for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a Jets game-day hostess in 2008 to a team with Super Bowl aspirations struggling to a 5-7 start, it’s been quite the eventful season for the Vikings.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always tomorrow,” punter Chris Kluwe tweeted.
“Joke goin round is Gods Tryin to preserve Bretts streak record,” receiver Bernard Berrian tweeted. “Lol!!”
As for Favre, he has 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.
As for the Giants? They must really be tired of these trips to Minnesota by now.
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 be three in a row _ for Minnesota.
The Vikings (5-7) have beaten the Giants (8-4) four straight times.
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said on Twitter the team “monitored weather all week” and moved up the departure time by 3 1/2 hours Saturday. That didn’t prove to be enough of a head start to make it to Minneapolis before the airport shut down all runways.
Last season, an approaching snowstorm in Baltimore prompted a Sunday game between the Ravens and Chicago Bears to be bumped back three hours, but such a switch in this television-driven league is rare.
The Vikings weren’t exactly enjoying a hassle-free weekend, either, simply because they were at home. Most players live in the suburbs near the team’s offices and practice facility, about a 20-minute drive from the Metrodome without heavy traffic or tough conditions, and they still had to make it to the downtown hotel where they stay the night before games.
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie announced on Twitter shortly after 6 p.m. local time his plan to be cautious: “Heading 2 the hotel, giving myself a 2 hour window 2 make it n this weather.”
McKinnie checked in with an update a little later: “I made it 2 the hotel safely, it took us about 45 min, when its usually about 20 to 25! All good though.”
AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.
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