A Slippy-Slidey Sojourn To Mall Of America Field (Sponsored By Captain Morgan)
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Friends, Sportressphiles and assorted internet troglodytes: this weekend, yours truly was commissioned with an interesting assignment. Yes, believe it or not, someone thought it would be a good idea to dispatch me to Mall of America Field to take in the pregame festivities in the streets of Minneapolis. Even better, this was Packers-Vikings week in the Twin Cities, and despite the Vikings woeful record, the matchup generally brings out the best of the best as it pertains to tailgating and outdoors shenanigans. Even more so, this happened to be the 100th game in the Packers-Vikings rivalry, and while there certainly wasn’t as much at stake as there have been in previous meetings (at least for the Purple), the fact that it was a numerically significant game certainly made up for the lack of overall buzz and anticipation.
When your humble Yardbarker correspondent awoke Sunday morning, I walked out to get my Sunday paper only to notice that some precipitation had fallen overnight. And when it is late November in Minnesota and it rains as opposed to snows, well, it’s not a very good thing. My driveway was a slick sheet of glazed ice, as were the roads throughout the Twin Cities metro area. So bad, in fact, that a travel advisory had been issued for Sunday morning and there were reports of automobiles slipping, sliding and crashing all over the place as a result of the wintry mix.
As a lifelong resident of Minnesota who has become accustomed to situations such as the one which presented itself this dreary Sunday morning, I would not be deterred. I got in the car and made my way to the City of Lakes (and Iced-Over Sidewalks).
The roads were in surprisingly good shape – save for some side streets – but the walkways from the parking lot to the Dome were borderline treacherous, especially on overpasses, as evidenced above. But that did not prevent tailgaters and fans from braving the slippery conditions to enjoy some pregame activities, including a sidewalk violinist who performed for the shuffling masses.
While there was some tailgating to be had in the designated tailgating lots around the Dome, a majority of the people could be found at the Minnesota Vikings Party on the Plaza, where a live band, food vendors and miscellaneous football-related activities (ball tosses, inflatable bouncers, etc.) were on-hand to take the chill off both Packers and Vikings fans alike.
And what kind of Packers-Vikings experience would it have been if a couple of Cheeseheads were not present wearing foam wedges of cheese upon their heads?
Looking good, folks. Of course, there were several examples of folks who fancy themselves are “too tough and cool to wear appropriate attire”:
A word of praise should go out to the dedicated Dome crew who were all over the place, throwing down salt to ensure that the sidewalks and thoroughfares were as safe as possible. Well done, guys.
After spending a good chunk of time in the drizzly, dreary conditions, we made our way inside to our seats. Unfortunately for this Minnesota Vikings fan (ugh), the slipping and sliding which was occurring outside the Dome was also happening inside the sterile, dry environment, as the Packers destroyed the Vikings and all in attendance witnessed the Purple’s season slip-sliding away.
Despite the outcome of the game, a grand time was had outside the Mall of America Field beforehand on a sleety, yet sublime, Sunday morning in Minneapolis, although while stepping outside for a “breath of fresh air” during the 2nd Quarter, I notice one interesting individual among the smokers who probably should have been on the sidelines coaching his beleaguered squad instead of sneaking a heater while the game was going on:
Well, I suppose speculation regarding Childress’ eventual ouster is purely an academic issue at this late and sad stage of the game. Hope you enjoyed your time in Flavor Country, Chilly.
And to everyone else out there in Internetland, do not only have a wonderful Thanksgiving, but have yourself a terrific “Captain’s Eve” as well, which is only two short days away. Better yet, make it legendary with Captain Morgan, but please drink responsibly. Captain’s orders.