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Archive for Monday, October 30, 2006

Rockin’ Metrodome plays host to Patriots

October 30, 2006

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— The Metrodome is always loud on game day.

The din can be deafening, and the building has been known to shake, giving the Minnesota Vikings one of the most intimidating home-field advantages in the league.

But when game day gives way to game night, like it will tonight when the New England Patriots come to town, it's another environment altogether.

It's been five years since the Vikings have played at home on Monday night, and there's no doubt these notoriously noisy fans will be primed and ready for a long-awaited appearance on the week's biggest stage.

"I think the fans are a little more awake at 7:30 on a Monday night than they are at noon on a Sunday," said Jim Kleinsasser, one of two Vikings still on the team the last time the Metrodome hosted a Monday night game in 2001. "There's a lot of overall excitement downtown way before the game even starts. Those fans get revved up and come into the dome, it's going to be tough for other teams to play."

If any team can handle it, it's the Patriots.

New England has won nine straight games indoors and quarterback Tom Brady has never lost in a dome.

"I think I like that turf," said Brady. "I think it's always nice for a quarterback because you can plant really well."

None of those nine straight wins, however, has come in the Metrodome. New England hasn't played in Minnesota since 1997, a 23-18 victory for the Vikings.

Brady was 20 years old and riding the bench at Michigan when that happened, but he still knows what it's like to play in the dome. The last time he was here, he led the Wolverines against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

"We won. We were playing Minnesota," he said with a laugh, taking a shot at the less-than-stellar Gophers football program.

The Wolverines beat Minnesota 15-10 on Oct. 31, 1998.

"It was a loud place from what I remember, but yeah, victorious to this point in the dome," he said.

"Well," Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said, "we'll try to change that."

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