Vikings plan Metrodome end that won’t repeat Met stadium melee

Construction crews work at the site of the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, Minn. December 16, 2013. The Metrodome, which opened in 1982, is being torn down and replaced with a new Vikings stadium. Jeffrey Thompson / MPR News
  1. Listen Heightened security for last game

Thirty-two years ago today the Minnesota Vikings wrapped up their final game and a 20-year run at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. With just over a week left before the Metrodome closes for good, the team and local officials say they’re determined this stadium will have a very different end.

That day, Dec. 20, 1981, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Vikings 10-6. Fans swarmed the field at the end to grab a bit of Met nostalgia.

Down went the goalposts. And the bleachers in the stands. And the loudspeakers in the endzone. And pieces of the scoreboard. And just about anything else that wasn’t set in concrete or welded together.

It was just short of a riot. Nine people were arrested. Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission executive director Don Poss called it a shame and an embarrassment.

And when the clock ticks down on the Vikings at the Metrodome next weekend, officials say they’re determined it won’t happen again. They held a security summit at the Metrodome on Wednesday.

“There will obviously be a great deal of attention for inside security, just monitoring so that fans can celebrate, but do so safely and responsibly,” said Medaria Arradondo, the police inspector in charge of the First Precinct in downtown Minneapolis

How much security? A lot. There’ll be nearly twice the number of Minneapolis police on hand for a typical game, as well as extra personnel from Whelan Security, the company that provides private security for the Vikings.

“All told, we’re looking at close to 700 security representatives within the building,” said Vikings spokesman Jeff Anderson. “We don’t expect any issues, but we want this to be a memorable game for our fans, and we want to do it in a safe and respectful way.”

Ticket King in Minneapolis had a stock of tickets to the last Vikings game at the Metrodome earlier this fall. Tim Nelson/MPR News

Forget the souvenir hunting, too.

“Nobody’s leaving with anything,” said Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. “We’re putting that rule in place, and we’re going to stick to it from the beginning of the game to the end.”

That will be a little easier now than it was 30 years ago. News footage from the time shows one fan even brought a hacksaw to the last Vikings game to help dismantle Met Stadium.

Not today.

“The NFL bag policy and the fact that they wand and search people as they come in will help a lot,” Kelm-Helgen said. “People won’t be able to bring any kind of tools or anything that will allow them to unhook things.”

It won’t all be sticks and warnings on the last day. The Vikings say there’ll be some carrots, as well.

The team will offer mementoes and events at the Metrodome that day. Fans will be able to bring home a token of the Metrodome era, without tearing loose a piece of it. That includes a commemorative pennant handed to every fan as they come through the doors for that final game.

Anderson says the team is also considering how to make other memorabilia available to fans to mark the occasion, after the stadium closes.

“We’re looking at turf. Seat backs. Maybe a save the stub ticket program, where we encourage our fans to save their final ticket and we’ll have a nice commemorative piece that they could slide their ticket into. All those options are on the table.”

The closing ceremonies for the Metrodome will start next Saturday, Dec. 28, with an event and stadium tours for season ticket holders. The team is also planning a post-game ceremony in the stadium to mark the Vikings departure from their long time home.

  • Starquest

    Oooh look, someone took a GOOLPOOST.


    Hey while I am reading MPR NEWS on line right now I know I could be doing something else more note worthy such as taking a walk outside, (HA, HA!) but in reality right now the main concern is not how much time each teenager or adult is spending on line but what each person is doing on line right now. I challenge each and every Human Being to go out side, interact with real human beings or even make a new hobby. Remember the internet is not going any where. The internet is an excellent communication tool that needs to be used in moderation no matter how much a person uses it even if you are a human being who has a job using the internet. Moderation is the key and if that does not work…I challenge parents of teenagers to get involved by encouraging their child to improve their education skills, monitoring on line content, and even helping their child find an after school job. Good luck America! We Humans are all Winners right now even if our face book page, twitter page or instagram, has not been updated in the past twenty four hours.

  • PaulJ

    Yes, because hyperreality seems to be of low quality when contrasted actual reality and lots of nothing gives you diabetes.

  • Victor Rockwell

    Probably, just as I am waiting my time responding to this.

  • Khatti

    Do you think teenagers spend too much time _____(fill in blank)____and therefore are putting the choices of their parents into a light that is very much less than flattering? After all, they didn’t need to have the little horrors!

    Has there ever been a time when we weren’t sure that our teenagers were not driving themselves into shame and ruin?

  • Pearly

    Well. We know they are not wasting their time working.

  • theRosevillian:-)

    no. but I will say that more of them could spend more time focusing on programming/coding and other learning issues.

  • Kurt O

    “traditional zeitgeist”???