Minneapolis Backed by fleets of dump trucks, dozens of workers hoisting shovels and blowers attacked the snowdrifts covering the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium Wednesday in a determined push to have it ready to replace the snow-damaged Metrodome for next week’s matchup between the Vikings and Bears.
With the work under way in earnest, NFL officials toured TCF Bank Stadium to make sure it was safe for fans and meets other league requirements. The two biggest concerns, according to assistant university athletic director Scott Ellison, were whether all the snow can be removed in time and whether the frozen field could be softened to a level that won’t hurt the players.
“I’m completely confident we can have a game here Monday night,” Ellison said after crews had already removed 26 truckloads of snow and totally cleared 17 of the 52 seating sections.
Ellison said the NFL was developing a plan to treat the field with warming chemicals to soften it and looking into laying a tarp across the playing field that would have some type of heating element underneath.
The team said league officials would make the final call on where the game will be played. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press that “we support the plan to play the game at the University of Minnesota stadium and are assisting the Vikings and the university on preparations.”
The Vikings decided to hold Monday night’s NFC North game at the home of the Golden Gophers after inspectors said there wasn’t enough time to repair the dome’s tattered and deflated roof. It fell early Sunday under the weight of about 17 inches of freshly fallen snow, forcing the Vikings to play the Giants at Ford Field in Detroit this past Monday.