Field condition remains an issue for Bears-Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS—It’s snowing in the Twin Cities and according to the forecast, there could be four inches or more on the ground before the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings play the first outdoors NFL game in Minnesota in 29 years tonight.
The field at TCF Bank Stadium has been the subject of much debate for the past week and Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, an outspoken critic, slammed the FieldTurf surface on his personal Twitter account on Sunday. It got so bad, his employer has to ask him to stop.
“Serious time -- All respect to the people that cleared the field and got it ready, you did an amazing job. That being said, it's unplayable," Kluwe wrote on his Twitter account.
"The field is as hard as concrete an hour and a half after they took the tarp off, and anyone that hits their head is getting a concussion," he continued. "I find it interesting that the NFL can claim an emphasis on player safety, and then tell us the field is fine. It's beyond hypocritical.
"I can only hope, however unlikely, that no one gets catastrophically injured at the trainwreck that's about to take place tomorrow night.
"To everyone -- that was a totally serious post on the field conditions. It is like walking on concrete. They took the tarp off at the same time they'll take it off before the game. The problem isn't heating it, it's retaining that heat.
"Like a lot of you are saying, hopefully the snow will at least provide a cushion tomorrow night :)
"The difference between TCF and fields you mentioned is they were built for cold weather. They have heating coils so no freezing.
"I've been asked not to tweet anymore about the field so as not to distract teammates (who were there) and I will honor that."
The field is currently covered by tarps and they are heating the surface. Players from both sides have lodged complaints, but the coaches remain calm about the situation and are trying to play up the mostalgia of the event.
“Our information from the groundskeepers there is that the field is in good shape," league spokesman Greg Aiello said.
Snow is expected to continue into the evening. It’s hard to imagine any type of surface – heated or not – being ideal in this climate and in this weather. The Bears can clinch the NFC North Division for the first time since 2006 with a victory.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune