MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants will play Monday night in Detroit after the Metrodome's inflated roof collapsed in a snowstorm.
The delay has given Vikings quarterback Brett Favre more time to heal his sprained right shoulder and see if he can extend his NFL-record streak of 297 straight games started.
Metrodome officials told the league the roof wouldn't be ready in time to play Monday or Tuesday. The league had discussions with Detroit and Indianapolis and briefly considered the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium before deciding to hold the game at Ford Field at 7:20 p.m.
The game originally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon and already had been pushed back to Monday night because of the storm that dumped 17 inches of snow on Minneapolis.
No one was hurt, but the roof collapse sent the league and both teams scrambling.
The Giants' plane was diverted to Kansas City on Saturday, and the team initially planned to leave early Sunday morning and arrive in the Twin Cities in time to play. But the roof collapsed overnight, the fourth time in the building's 29-year history that has happened.
University of Minnesota officials told the NFL that TCF Bank Stadium was shut down for the winter and would take several days to prepare for another game. Removing all the snow, figuring out how to cram 64,000 Metrodome fans into a 50,000-seat stadium, and the fact that the Giants did not bring any cold-weather gear with them from New York for what would have been a brutally frigid night game all combined to make that site problematic.
The New Orleans Saints and Colts also said they were willing to help.
"It's Detroit. Goodcall. Makes sense," Colts owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter.
The Vikings are refunding the cost of the tickets for the game for any fans who can't make it to Detroit. Those that do will be given priority seating along the 50-yard line at Ford Field and the Lions will distribute free general admission tickets starting at 9 a.m.
"There are still a lot of logistics up in the air, but we will do everything we can to make this a quality NFL game for the Vikings and Giants," Lions President Tom Lewand said.
The game will be broadcast in both local markets on Fox affiliates and will also be available as part of DirectTV's Sunday Ticket package.
It will be the first Monday night game at Ford Field and first in Michigan since the Pontiac Silverdome hosted one in 2001.
The roof collapse is a fitting metaphor in a trying season for the Vikings that has included: the firing of coach Brad Childress; the investigation of Favre for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to a Jets hostess 2008; the disappointing play of a 5-7 team that had Super Bowl aspirations.
"I think this is officially the craziest season ever; now the roof collapses at the metrodome," Vikings defensive end Brian Robison tweeted. "Can't wait to see what happens now. Let's make it even crazier and just take the roof off and play outside."
Tweeted punter Chris Kluwe: "Just when you think you've seen it all, there's always tomorrow."
Favre has barely practiced all week. He's listed as questionable for the game after getting hit hard and slammed to the turf on his first pass of last week's game against the Buffalo Bills and coach Leslie Frazier said Friday that he would have to show them he can make all the throws in a pregame workout before he was cleared to play. He sent a text message to ESPN on Sunday morning that he would not have been able to play if the game were played Sunday.
"Joke goin round is Gods Tryin to preserve Bretts streak record," receiver Bernard Berrian tweeted. "Lol!!"
Concerns about high winds for the crew clearing snow from the roof prompted the commission on Saturday to recommend to the NFL that the game be moved from Sunday to Monday night.
Two of the dome's triangle-shaped panels were damaged and workers were still assessing the situation, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Executive Director Bill Lester said Sunday.
The only time before Sunday that a game has been postponed because of roof failure was April 14, 1983, when a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and California Angels had to be rescheduled.
On Sunday morning, the puffy white top that frames the east side of the downtown skyline was sunken toward the stadium bowl, as the NFL, Vikings and stadium officials held conference calls to discuss the situation.
The Giants clearly must be tired of these trips to Minnesota. The Vikings and Giants are set to play for the ninth time in the last 10 regular seasons, a scheduling quirk that has slated seven of those meetings – this year would be three in a row – for Minnesota. The Vikings have beaten the Giants four straight times.
Last season, an approaching snowstorm in Baltimore prompted a Sunday game between the Ravens and Chicago Bears to be bumped back three hours, but such a switch in this television-driven league is rare.
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