Gophers confident they will host Bears-Vikings on Monday

While no official word has come from the NFL, officials at the University of Minnesota are confident that the school will host the Monday night game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium.

NFL officials toured the snow-filled stadium today.

“I would say there will be a game here Monday night,” Scott Ellison, the Golden Gophers’ associate athletic director, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Ellison said the NFL is “on board” with the condition of the field. However, it is believed the FieldTurf surface is covered by a layer of ice under the snow. Melting that ice could potentially damage the field. More snow is expected in the Twin Cities tonight, and an official announcement might not come until Thursday.

Crews have been working to clear snow from the stadium, which has been shut down since last week. The Vikings are motivated to play the game in Minneapolis because Monday marks the end of a weekend of celebrations honoring the 50-year anniversary of the franchise. Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to attend the game.

If the game is not played at TCF Bank Stadium, it will be moved to a domed NFL stadium. Detroit and Indianapolis have been mentioned as possible destinations but the Vikings would likely object because they know both venues would be packed with Bears’ fans given the close proximity to Chicago. Other possibilities include Atlanta, Dallas and New Orleans.

“As long as they have everything game ready, they’re going to do the best they can to get everything on point so we can play a good game and we’ll play,” Bears defensive end Israel Idonije said. “The conditions, the field, the stadium, everyone’s in the same boat so apart from us traveling, which is what we’d be doing anyway, there’s no difference.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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