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NFL planning on Vikes-Bears outdoors
Question of the Day
Bears kicker Robbie Gould, the team’s union representative, said no formal complaint was planned.
“There will be no protest,” he said. “The bottom line is as players we want to make sure that it’s a safe environment to play in. So as long as the environment is safe and the conditions for the field are safe, then obviously the show must go on.”
Rookie Vikings quarterback Joe Webb, who may start the game, said he hasn’t played in freezing conditions before.
“They say we play at that Minnesota stadium, you’re just going to have to live with it,” said Webb, who played college ball at Alabama-Birmingham. “If God wants to change the weather on me, then that would be fine, too.”
Leber said the Vikings will stay a home-field advantage of sorts.
“But it is kind of funny that it’s been such a big deal this year about player safety then this issue comes up and I think it’s kind of getting swept under the rug a little bit,” he said.
TCF Bank Stadium seats 50,000 fans, which means about 14,000 ticket-holders could be out of luck on Monday night. The Vikings said ticket-holders would be seated on a first-come, first-served basis until the stadium is full. No alcohol will be served.
Vikings marketing executive Steve LaCroix said the team expected some ticket-holders to stay away due to the cold. The team set a Saturday deadline for people to turn in tickets for refunds to give them an idea of Monday’s likely crowd.
LaCroix said there’s also room for about 2,000 fans to stand in an open area on the stadium’s west end, meaning they’d be about 12,000 seats short if every ticket-holder showed up.
“We think it’s going to be great. It’s nighttime football, it’s going to be freezing cold temperatures, it’s going to be very memorable,” he said.
The university offered volunteers $10 per hour to help clear snow at its stadium. They were so overwhelmed with the response Thursday morning that school officials put out word that no more shovelers were needed for the day.
At the Metrodome, officials halted repair work until they could resolve what director of facilities and engineering Steve Maki called “an unsafe situation” after a fourth panel gave way Wednesday night He said there was concern that still more panels could collapse under snow and ice still sitting atop the deflated roof.
Maki said there was no estimate yet of how long the repair work would take or how much it would cost, but officials were still hoping they could simply repair the damaged panels instead of replacing the entire roof.
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which manages the dome, voted to approve an initial $1.5 million for repairs though the final bill is expected to be much larger.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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