Rats! Forecast warms up for Vikings game

I was really looking forward to severe, bone-cracking cold Monday night when the Minnesota Vikings host the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium. It could’ve been our chance to show the nation that us hearty Minnesotans and North Dakotans laugh at the minus sign, only wear gloves when reaches 10 below and finally don a hat at minus 15.

(I actually remember some freshmen girls at MSUM following that same pattern back in the day. You know the ones who barely zip up their jackets at 10 below even though everyone else is bundled up like the Michelin Man walking to class. By January, fortunately most of them had it figured out.)

Anyhew …

Back in 1961, the Vikings hosted the Bears in their first-ever game at Metropolitan Stadium. So we’re sort of back where they began. The Vikings happened to win that game with a rookie quarterback, too. You might have heard of Fran Tarkenton a time or two.

Monday night’s game also marks 29 years to the day the last game was played at the Met, a 10-6 Vikings loss to Kansas City. Straight-on kicker (gotta love that style) Rick Danmeier provided two field goals of 43 and 33 yards for the Vikings.

The weather forecast for Minneapolis has changed several times this week, which seems common as meteorologists fine tune long-range forecasts as the actual day nears.

Last Tuesday, lows Monday night were expected to be in the single digits. By Saturday night, the prediction is for a low around 20 degrees with a 70 to 80 percent chance of snow. With 7 to 9 mph winds, the wind chill won’t have a chance at dipping below zero, either.

Seriously, I’m amazed at how few NFL games have been played in below zero temperatures. Of the three, none have taken place in Minnesota.

There was the famous “Ice Bowl” game in 1967 at Lambeau where it was 13 below with a 48 below wind chill. In 1982 in Cincinnati, the Bengals beat San Diego in the AFC Championship when it was 9 below with a 59 below wind chill. And in Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer in the NFC Championship game in January 2008, it was 1 below with a minus 23 wind chill.

Maybe Bud Grant simply held off on the sideline heaters until it was below zero at the Met?

A tip o’ the hat

In less than a week, TCF Bank Stadium is almost ready to go. What an amazing job by contracted workers and volunteer snow shovelers to clear the place out. Seriously, while it’s routine at places like Green Bay, Buffalo and New England, a full season’s snowpack wasn’t your typical snow removal job.