Roof collapse moves Giants-Vikings game to Detroit
MINNEAPOLIS – Maybe this is a sign the weather gods want Brett Favre to start.
The Minnesota Vikings-New York Giants game 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!!”
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.
“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 at Ford Field 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 on Saturday. They stayed overnight and departed for 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.”
University of Minnesota officials told the NFL that TCF Bank Stadium was shut down for the winter and would take several days to prepare for another game. Removing all the snow, figuring out how to cram 64,000 Metrodome fans into a 50,000-seat stadium, and the fact that the Giants did not bring any cold-weather gear with them all combined to make that site problematic.
“The one thing I was not crazy about was playing at the University of Minnesota where they were predicting the wind chill would be minus-11,” Mara said. “That would have created a lot of issues for us.”
The Vikings are scheduled to host the Chicago Bears for a Monday night game next week, but it was still unclear if the two triangle-shaped panels of the Teflon roof that were torn would be able to be repaired in time.
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.”
Favre 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.
Coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that he would have to show them he can make all the throws in a pregame workout before he was cleared to play. Favre sent a text message to ESPN on Sunday morning that he would not have been able to play if the game were played Sunday.
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.
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 be 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.”
AP Sports Writers Dave Campbell in Minneapolis, Tom Canavan in East Rutherford, N.J., Larry Lage in Detroit and Michael Marot in Indianapolis and AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.
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