Bears-Vikings a go for University of Minnesota stadium
There is no turning back now.
The NFL made it official today, announcing the Chicago Bears indeed will play the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, a game that will be in the national spotlight on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
Crews finished removing snow from the stadium today. How much snow? Try 30,000 cubic yards, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The heavy blanket of snow that did cover the field has actually left the FieldTurf surface in better condition than it was for a Golden Gophers’ game last month.
“Because the field has been under a blanket of snow and at a constant temperature since last week's storm, the playing surface is in great shape," Minnesota’s associate athletic director Scott Ellison told the Star Tribune. "In fact, because we have not had that constant freezing and thawing that we had prior to the Iowa game (on Nov. 27), the field is actually in better shape today than it was for the Gophers' season finale against the Hawkeyes."
Workers will next cover the field with a tarp and place heaters under the tarp in order to maintain what they call “favorable” conditions.
Players from both sides have been outspoken about their concerns for safety at the game. However, it appears those issues will not be a problem. The Vikings will hold a walk-through at the stadium on Sunday. The Bears, who have practiced indoors the last two days, will practice Saturday at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., on an artificial outdoor field. The Bears do not have an outdoor artificial surface at Halas Hall.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune