Vikings players concerned about field safety at university
Some Minnesota Vikings are concerned with the safety players might have Monday night playing at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota.
The Vikings are committed to playing the game there, and the NFL has backed the plan to this point, but no official word has been given yet. There is a layer of ice covering the FieldTurf surface under the snow blanketing the field. Basically, the surface is frozen and even if the ice can be thawed by Monday night, the field could re-freeze and players are concerned.
“I just hope it's a safe environment to play in," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe told Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "That it's not going to be hazardous to the players when it comes to field conditions."
The field does not have miles of heating coils underneath it like most Northern stadiums, and that’s because the Gophers don’t need to use the stadium after November. It is forecasted to be bitterly cold Monday with a high perhaps in the single digits.
"They haven't consulted us, and to my understanding they haven't consulted anybody," linebacker Ben Leber, an assistant NFLPA representative, told Zulgad. "I talked to a few guys, and nobody has been asked what our opinion is. ... I think much like everything else we're just kind of told where and when to be and just roll with it.
"It can be a potentially dangerous situation, but because historically in the past games have been played on frozen fields ... and there is probably not enough evidence to say, 'There's a 60 percent chance of a player getting hurt or whatever,'" Leber said. "This machine has been going too long and too hard for anything to throw a wrench in it during the week of the game. It's a valid question, but I don't think anything could be done."
Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune