For 32 years the Minnesota Vikings, Twins and for a small period of time the Timberwolves have called the Metrodome home. Named initially for former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the dome is now known as Mall of America Field since 2009 because of a sponsorship with the Mall. But for those of us who live in Minnesota, it always has been and will be the Metrodome.
With its marshmallow shape and tough astro turf the Metrodome roof is made actually made out of fiberglass and is self supported by air pressure.
Remember in 2010 when a snowstorm hit Minneapolis the night before a game? The once thought to be indestructible rough caved in, forcing the Vikings to play their last two home contests elsewhere. The footage is from security cameras inside is priceless as you can see the inside coming in. The old dome roof is now great memorabilia for fans and even woven into purses. Yes, purses.
The Minnesota Twins won two World Series there. The University of Minnesota football team called it home for 27 years. The Minnesota Timberwolves averaged more than 25,000 fans per game in their inaugural season while they waited for the Target Center to be finished. Billy Graham preached to the faithful. And U2, Rolling Stones, Metallica and Guns and Roses preached to the other faithful. Monster trucks smashed around the field. And the roller derby ran circles inside the dome as well.
Not to mention the Metrodome is the only facility to have hosted a Super Bowl (1992), World Series (1987, 1991), MLB All-Star Game (1985), and NCAA Division I Basketball Final Four (1992, 2001).
But after all those accolades, for most of the Metrodome’s short 32-year life, the Minnesota Vikings have always pushed for a new home to play in.
And in 2016, like the Twins and Timberwolves before them, will finally get their wish. The Viking’s will break in a new, sleek stadium on the same downtown Minneapolis site.
And to return the favor the University of Minnesota is lending the Viking’s their home TCF Bank Stadium for the two years the Vikings will be displaced.
When it’s torn down next month, the Vikings will leave a lot of home-field advantage in the dust. They play their final game at the Metrodome on December 29th against the Detroit Lions.
The festivities begin Saturday with a “Last Season, Last Call” party from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. Season ticket owners get a final chance to take commemorative photos on the field, near the Vikings ship or in the team’s locker room. But the 6,000-person limit for the event has already been reached.
“It’s a building that the Vikings and their fans probably don’t look forward to going to, but I’ll guarantee you the visitor hates it even more,” former center Matt Birk said.
Rival Green Bay Packers are at the top of that list. Brett Favre needed six tries to win his first game there and finished 6-10 as the opposing quarterback, losing there in 1996 with the eventual Super Bowl champions. Former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka loathed the Metrodome. He declared it fit for no better than a roller skating rink.
“The volume in that stadium, when the fans get rocking, you can’t even have a conversation on the sidelines. It wasn’t just the snap count and the communication on the field. It’s trying to communicate on the sideline to fix something, and you just couldn’t do it,” said retired kicker Ryan Longwell, who like Favre played for both the Packers and Vikings. “We’d walk out of here with a great team—and a loss. It obviously got into our heads a little bit.”
Then Packers Coach Mike Holmgren accused the Vikings of enhancing the crowd noise by playing recordings through the speaker system, but the inflated Teflon cover trapped and amplified the cheering, shouting and chanting regardless of any “manipulation”. The circulated air was dry, and unaccustomed opponents could quickly dehydrate.
Inside the oddly shaped dome, the Vikings definitely had the “12th man” advantage.
The Metrodome even saw the Vikings go to 15-1. The 1998 team was magical for us here; the Vikings set the later-broken NFL record for single-season scoring and rolled onto the NFC championship game. They lost to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime and that was the only opportunity the Vikings had to play for a Super Bowl spot in their domed home.
They also lost three other NFC championship games on the road during the Metrodome era, which will be marked as much by talented teams that fell short as by the success they had there from 1982-2013.
According to STATS research, the Vikings (162-90) have the seventh-best home record in the NFL—third-best in the NFC—since the Metrodome opened.
“What I’ve seen that we have to look forward to, I’m not sad at all. I’m excited,” running back Adrian Peterson said. “It’s been here for a long time, and it’s got a lot of history. So from that sense, good times, good memories. But it’s time to move forward.”
And with that sound piece of advice Minnesotans look forward to the new exciting stadium and new exciting memories of what the new yet to be named stadium will be bring.