mall of america field

Minneapolis skyline from inside the Metrodome

Photo by AboveTheNorm

Roof over their heads: Vikings ready to return to Metrodome for 1st game there since December

The Minnesota Vikings are ready to play under their new roof.

More than eight months after the Metrodome ceiling partially collapsed during a heavy snowstorm, the Vikings will be in action at Mall of America Field. They host the Dallas Cowboys tonight in a preseason game.

Game programs sit on seats before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. The Vikings are playing their final game in the Metrodome as it will be torn down following the season. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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The Metrodome, minus a roof since December’s blizzard took the air out of the much-maligned but functional stadium, is whole once again.

Its new roof inflated in about 45 minutes Wednesday morning, much faster than officials expected.

“We had a good day today. The inflation went without a hitch,” said Ted Mondale, chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. “There didn’t seem to be any issues whatsoever.”

Mondale added: “We’ll be ready for the Vikings – if they’re ready,” a reference to the NFL’s unresolved labor dispute between owners and players.

Lester Bagley, Vikings’ vice president in charge of stadium development, watched as the roof slowly rose. “We’re very pleased that it’s up and ready. We’re going to get our homefield advantage back,” he said.

The roof cost $18 million, and the entire project about $22.7 million. The cost was covered by insurance.

The Teflon-coated fiberglass roof is a little tanner and less puffy than the predecessor, whose failure during a December blizzard turned the Minnesota Vikings into vagabonds as the team limped to the finish line last season.

On Wednesday, workers turned on a dozen 100-horsepower fans at 7:13 a.m. to begin the process of raising the roof.

“OK, we’re going,” radioed Steve Maki, the Dome’s chief engineer.

Workers were stationed at the stadium gates to depressurize the arena, if necessary, and around the perimeter of the roof in case the fabric snagged as it stretched.

Four workers in harness rode the roof as it ascended, keeping close watch for any complications.

The best indication of success was that, shortly after the roof had been fully inflated, workers on the arena floor began picking up the plywood sheets that had covered the field during construction.

Officials now must decide whether the year-old turf, which has been pounded by the elements, is playable or whether it must be replaced.

People watched from downtown streets below and office towers overhead as the new roof slowly took shape. They saw the roof speckled with colorful air pillows, kept in place to stabilize the fabric in the event of wind. Dark cable stays outlined the roof’s new profile.

Inside, the arena was brighter than before. That’s because the central portion of the roof has only one fiberglass layer, not two as before, to better aid snow melt from the roof. With the interior layer gone, dozens of silver-colored acoustic panels have been hung like flags from the ceiling to improve noise control.

Even with the roof up, numerous small tasks remain, including various seals and installation of lightning rods. Work must be completed by Aug. 1.

A public open house is planned for Aug. 20. The Vikings are scheduled to play their first preseason game at the Dome on Aug. 27.

The Metrodome opened in 1982 as home to the Minnesota Twins, the Vikings and University of Minnesota football. The Twins and Gophers have left for outdoor venues, and the Vikings are pressing their case for a new home in the Twin Cities as well.

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455

Sorenr1 at on the end zone corner.

From there they had a great view of the plays on the field when the  Minnesota Vikings took on the Arizona Cardinals.

Plus because they were in the upper levels they could really check out the air supported dome at Mall of America Field.

(via Mall Of America Field section 203 row 20 seat 15 - Minnesota Vikings vs Arizona Cardinals shared by sorenr1)

Game Recap: Vikings and Lions (Last game at Mall of America Field)

On Sunday December 29th 2013 Mal of America closed its doors following a 14-13 win over divisional rival, the Detroit Lions. Now keep in mind this game was lacking serious star power as the Vikings were resting Adrian Peterson and the Lions chose to rest Calvin Johnson.

This game was great stage to show off Cordarrelle Patterson’s growth over this past season as he was able to take 2 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown on the ground while in the air he had 2 receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. He was a very dynamic force for the Vikings Offense as of recent weeks and I can’t wait to see him continue to grow next season!

Meanwhile, Matt Cassel struggled at times throughout the game but he was able to put together an “average” performance at best Sunday with 189 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.  Matt Asiata managed to take a bit of the “Metrodome Magic” that still lingered and racked up 115 yards on 14 attempts. I loved seeing this guy pick up where he left off and I am very excited to see this guy back next year!

Defensivley, the Vikings were able to hold the Lions to just 13 points, granted this was aided by some very poor decisions by Matt Stafford who was starting to show familiar signs of a really young, trigger happy, risk taking Brett Favre.. and not in a good way folks…

This game was an opportunity for a lot of young guys to get some experience, and both veteran and rookie alike this game served as an audition for themselves next season.

I loved seeing Mall of America Field closed out with a gritty win over the Lions of all teams (maybe only beating the Packers would have been better). The Dome has given us Viking fans many heart stopping, jaw dropping and jump out of your seat memories its almost a little sad to finally be closing its doors. Thank you Mall of America Field for all the great years and after two cold (but hopefully fun seasons outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium) and then we will be moving into our new home in 2016.

Will miss you Mall of America Field!

Ragnar

Game Preview: The tale of the Lion and the Viking

This week the Minnesota Vikings will square off with the Detroit Lions in the last bout they will have at Mall of America Field.

The Lions are coming to town with their high powered Offense as well as their stout defense being anchored by their grizzly and proud defensive line. The Vikings will have a tough matchup here and have an opportunity to sour the end of the Lions season. The Vikings as we all know are going to be auditioning for 2014 and I expect we will see a lot of intense play from the Vikings as well as some unexpected surprises from little known players.

Matt Cassel will be under center again and he will be under the spotlight as if he does well this week he should be in the discussion of bringing him back for another year (possibly to compete for the starting position)

Adrian Peterson will be back in action although he was hampered by his injury against the Bengals I would expect us to see some other RB’s getting a fair chunk of the workload. Somebody I hope to see getting more carries against the Lions is…

On the defensive side of the ball I hope to see a lot of reps for Shariff Floyd, I really want to see what he can do out there, or let me rephrase that. I just want to see him do better out there, he has been rather unmentionable all season. I would also keep a close eye on the defensive backs and young linebackers I the game this week. Audie Cole is out so that means there will be an opportunity for somebody to step up and earn an audition for 2014. As well as in the secondary I am looking to see a young up and comer to stand out and earn himself a place on next years squad.

I should mention that this is the last game at Mall of America Field and I hope the Vikings come out and play that way. Lets just remember at the start of the season the Lions only won because they were able to pull away in the last few minutes of the game.

Lets end the history of Mall of America Field out on a good note Vikings!

Ragnar