This Sunday at Mall Of America Field, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Cleveland Browns in the final home opener at the stadium they have called home since the 1982 NFL season.
While most Vikings fans agree that the time for Minnesota to get a new football stadium has been long overdue, the Metrodome, as it has been known for most of its existence, has provided many memorable moments for Vikings and NFL fans throughout the Twin Cities area over the last 31 seasons.
Having covered Minnesota over the last couple years, my most memorable Vikings moment at the Metrodome was during the final game of the 2012 season when Adrian Peterson was chasing the single season NFL rushing record and Minnesota was trying to clinch its first playoff berth since the 2009 season.
The Vikings were hosting the Green Bay Packers and with each carry, you could see Peterson get closer and closer to breaking the record. I know in the press box you aren’t suppose to cheer, but I guarantee you everyone who was covering the game that afternoon wanted to see history made. Peterson ended up nine yards short of setting the record, but his final carry did put the Vikings in field goal range. Blair Walsh kicked the game-winning field goal and gave Minnesota a 37-34 win and a Wild Card berth in the NFL Playoffs.
I’ve asked some of the staff at WCCO to share their favorite Vikings memories in the Metrodome. If you have a favorite moment you would like to mention, feel free to share it in the comments section below.
Chris Shaffer, WCCO Meteorologist
My favorite moment came in the 1998 season against “Da Bears.” My brother and I painted our faces and watched our Vikings crush Chicago 48-22. Randy Moss grabs three touchdowns from Randall Cunningham, and Dwayne Rudd returns a fumble 94 yards for a touchdown in our end zone. I was wearing Rudd’s jersey that day. I know that season didn’t end well at the Dome, but it was a wonderful ride that year! 15-1… Awesome!
John Lauritsen, WCCO Reporter
My favorite Vikings memory came during the 2007 season when Adrian Peterson set the single season rushing record against the Chargers. It was the first time you realized just how special Peterson could be. Antonio Cromartie returned a short field goal for a touchdown just before the half for the Chargers. But something must have happened in the locker room at halftime, because in the second half San Diego absolutely could not tackle AP. He was literally unstoppable. The team finished 8-8 that year, but you knew after that game that Adrian had Hall of Fame potential.
Mike Max, WCCO Sports
My memory took place on Jan. 3, 1983. It was the final game of the strike-shortened season and Minnesota needed a win against Dallas to clinch a playoff berth. Tony Dorsett set a NFL record with 99-yard run for the Cowboys, but the Vikings went on to win the game. I went there with three friends on a school night and didn’t get home until 1:30 in the morning.
Adam Carter, WCCO Radio
My favorite memory was when Brett Favre faced the Packers for the first time as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. I was down on the field when he came out, and of course there was still a sizable Packer crowd. I don’t think they knew how to react. It was surreal.
Jamie Yuccas, WCCO Morning Anchor
My favorite memory of the Vikings at the Metrodome happened last year on Dec. 10, 2012. Minnesota took on the Chicago Bears on a very snowy Sunday. My husband and I walked to the game, slipping and sliding the whole way. We were wet when we made it to our seats, but the game was so fun. We got to watch AP finish the day with 154 yards on 31 carries. The Vikings won the game and everyone was feeling that the momentum was building up speed! The victory improved Minnesota’s record to 7-6 and pulled the Vikings to within a game of Chicago in the NFC North. We then met friends, who also went to the game, at the W for a celebratory cocktail when Adrian Peterson and his whole family walked in to have dinner at Manny’s! It was such a good day, even with all the snow and that big ugly dome. It’s one of my favorite memories — period. I look back at that day very fondly.
Susie Jones, WCCO Radio
My favorite memory came during the 2004 season. I was at a game with my cousin, and we had seats right where the opposing team leaves the stadium. The Vikings were playing Detroit, and it was around Thanksgiving. I remember leaning over and wishing them all a “Happy Thanksgiving” as they headed home. Minnesota won the game 22-19.
And of course a Vikings Metrodome memory wouldn’t be complete without a Sid Hartman story to tell.
Dave Lee, WCCO Morning News Host
I’m not sure which game to isolate, but I can tell you my favorite incident at a Viking Game at the Metrodome. Mike Max, Dark Star, Sid Hartman and myself were in the Viking press box, prior to the kick off vs. The Packers. We were standing near the popcorn machine, where if you stand in that area of the press box, you can not see the field very well. In order to do that you must move forward a few feet or so. Suddenly, the public address announcer came on and in a loud voice asked the Metrodome crowd to please welcome The Barenaked Ladies. It was the fastest I have seen Sid move in my life. He shot to the front of the press box faster than Sammy White on a fly route! He was sadly disappointed when I sauntered up behind him and said ‘It’s a rock band, not what you were expecting.’ Sid just shuffled back towards the popcorn machine as if nothing had happened.