MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The New York Giants might really be tired of traveling to Minnesota now.
The Vikings and Giants are supposed to play Sunday 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.
With more than a foot of blowing snow falling in the Twin Cities area Saturday, the Giants’ charter flight was forced to land in Kansas City instead. The team settled in to spend the night there, with a plan in place to fly to Minnesota on Sunday morning and make it to the stadium in time for regularly scheduled kickoff at 1 p.m. EST.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail Saturday evening that the game would be moved back if conditions in the Twin Cities further delayed the Giants’ journey.
“We continue to closely monitor the weather in Minneapolis and remain in regular contact with both clubs and local public safety authorities,” Aiello said. “We will continue to do so and are prepared to make adjustments in the schedule as necessary.”
According to Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon on Twitter, the team was scheduled for a 6 a.m. CST wakeup call Sunday in Kansas City followed by an 8 a.m. flight and a 9 a.m. arrival in Minneapolis.
The airport in clear conditions is less than a 20-minute drive from downtown, where the Vikings play in the climate-controlled comfort of the Metrodome, now known as Mall of America Field. If the plane is on time and the roads are passable, the Giants should have time to go through their normal pregame preparation and routine.
“If conditions in Minneapolis dictate otherwise, we will move the kickoff to later in the day and announce it soon as we have the information,” Aiello said. “We will pay close attention to local conditions and be mindful of issues of fan safety and convenience in making the final scheduling decision.”
Hanlon also said on Twitter the team “monitored weather all week” and moved up Saturday’s departure time by 3 1/2 hours. That didn’t prove to be enough of a head start to make it to Minneapolis before the airport shut down all runways. Between 12 and 18 inches was accumulating in the Twin Cities area, and winds were gusting over 30 mph at night.
The Vikings weren’t exactly enjoying a hassle-free weekend, either, just because they were at home. Most players live in the suburbs near the team’s offices and practice facility, about a 20 minute drive from the Metrodome without heavy traffic or tough conditions, and they still had to make it to the downtown hotel where they stay the night before games.
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie announced on Twitter shortly after 6 p.m. local time his plan to be cautious: “Heading 2 the hotel, giving myself a 2 hour window 2 make it n this weather.”
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is aiming to make his NFL-record 298th straight start, with a sprained shoulder that has made throwing difficult. He’s listed as questionable to play the Giants.
The Vikings (5-7) have beaten the Giants (8-4) four straight times.
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