Vikings fans enjoy 'Snow Bowl,' despite frigid lossby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis — The Chicago Bears beat the Vikings last night at TCF Bank Stadium, 40-14 in a game some dubbed the Snow Bowl.
The game gave the fans a taste of what they might experience if the Vikings build an outdoor stadium, but it seemed like the Vikings faithful dug the new venue more than the Vikings players did.
A snowstorm, traffic jams and limited parking didn't deter more than 40,000 Vikings fans from seeing the team play its last home game of the season. Due to a first come, first served seating policy, thousands showed up hours before the game and stood outside in the driving snowstorm.
Muluken Doyamo wore a number 12 Percy Harvin Vikings jersey over his parka. Originally from east Africa, Doyamobut's been a Vikings fan ever since he came to Minnesota in 1993.
"It's all about pigskin love. Football -- the fever -- Minnesota Vikings fans, this is what it's about," Doyamo said.
Standing a few dozen feet behind him was Joe Romare, a Chicago Bears fan. Romare has been to games at Soldier Field. He said so far, the weather here isn't so bad. He had been hearing some whining.
"Just from the Vikings fans," he said with a small smile, as his comment brought some friendly boos from purple-clad figures nearby.
Apparently, years of watching games in the windy city have taught Romare how to dress for outdoor football. All that's visible of Romare's face are his eyes and the bridge of his nose. He's bundled up from head to toe.
When the gates opened about two hours before game time, fans rushed in to find the best seats possible.
The excitement remained high through kickoff and the Vikings opening drive. And when Percy Harvin scored the Vikings first touchdown the fans roared and celebrated by throwing handfuls of snow in the air.
Some saw this game as an opportunity to experience what it would be like if the Vikings built a new outdoor stadium.
"I don't know if it's 10 or 15 degrees, but it feels warm here," said fan Adrian Young. "Everybody's dressed. Everybody has the clothes in Minnesota, so why not."
And others, like Laura Zimmermann, from Canon Falls, say this is more fun than watching football at the Metrodome.
"This is phenomenal. Honest to God, I've never seen this much energy in the dome," Zimmermann said. "There's so much energy; not one person has sat down. It is so fun."
Zimmermann's friend Caitlyn Walls said -- even more fun for them -- they didn't wait in line to get in.
"We went and supported a couple of the local establishments around here," Walls said. "Well, that is a professional way of saying that. But we still walked in and got here in time for kickoff."
There is no alcohol sold at TCF Bank Stadium so, pre-game drinking seemed to be the plan for those who would normally imbibe during a Vikings game.
Apparently, some fans didn't hold their liquor so well. University officials say campus police had to escort several fans out of the stadium for general rowdiness. Some threw snowballs at some of the Chicago Bears players as they sat on their bench, and they say one fan lost his pants after he ran out on to the field and security tackled him to the ground.
Despite the incidents, U officials say the game went smoothly, except for the Vikings that is, and especially for Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. In the second quarter, Bears lineman Corey Wootton, slammed Favre to the turf and gave him a concussion.
"It's one of the few times I kinda went blank there for a while in my career," Favre said after the game. "Just the way I was slung around on the turf."
Favre has been remarkably durable over his 20-year career. Last week was the first time Favre missed a game. The Vikings say it's too early to tell if the concussion will keep Favre out of the last two games of the season. But given Favre's resilience, no one will be surprised if he takes the field next week when they go to Philadelphia to play the Eagles.
- Morning Edition, 12/21/2010, 7:25 a.m.