Snow cleared at TCF stadium; extra seating ruled outby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — Officials at TCF Bank Stadium estimate they've removed up to 35,000 cubic yards of snow from the stands and field in two-and-a-half days.
It took hundreds of people shoveling up to 14 hours a day, but now just a few small piles of snow remain.
Some players have said they're worried the unheated field is too hard a surface for Monday's Vikings-Bears game.
But University of Minnesota associate athletic director Scott Ellison says the field is softer than it was on Nov. 27 for the Minnesota-Iowa game.
"It came through the 17-inch snowstorm quite well," he said. "That 2 feet of snow we had on it acted as an insulating blanket and really helped protect it from the frost that comes with this kind of cold weather."
Crews are setting up metal barriers outside the stadium in preparation for long lines of fans and workers are delivering stacks of soda.
Meanwhile, the Vikings have ruled out adding temporary seating to TCF Bank Stadium for Monday night's game against the Bears.
TCF has about 50,000 seats, compared to the 64,000 seats at the Metrodome. The Monday game was sold out.
Vikings vice president of sales and marketing, Steve LaCroix, said the team decided against adding stands. He says the U-shaped stadium's open end will instead be used for overflow and standing room only.
"It's general admission, so if you have a lower level ticket for the game that's supposed to be played at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome on Monday night, you can access the lower level at TCF bank stadium," he said. "This would be a kind of a mix, an overflow area, kind of a social gathering space to go hang out, if that's what you prefer, over sitting in an actual seat."
LaCroix says about 3,000 people can fit into that space, increasing the stadium's capacity to 54,000.
Seating at the game will be first-come, first-served. The Vikings will give refunds to people in line who don't get in. Ticket holders who don't want to attend have until Saturday to mail their tickets in for a refund.
VIKINGS STAR ELLER RALLIES SHOVELERS
Former Vikings star Carl Eller was on hand to rally crews working on the field. Eller will be recognized Monday as part of the Vikings 50th season anniversary celebration.
Eller said he wishes former Vikings coach Bud Grant could come back for this game. He said Grant would tell the current team not to worry about the cold.
"Bud would always have a story he'd tell us but first of all he'd tell us don't worry about the weather, we're not playing the weather," he said. "We're playing the other team. They need to concentrate on the Bears, not the weather."
Eller says it's unfortunate the cold won't give the Vikings much of an advantage over the Chicago Bears, whose home field is the open-air Soldier Field.