MINNEAPOLIS — Get ready to say farewell to the Metrodome.
Sunday’s Vikings game against the Detroit Lions is the last time the public can go inside the 32-year-old Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. It’ll be demolished starting next month to make way for a new football stadium. The current plan is to deflate the dome’s Teflon roof on Jan. 18, with demolition to follow.
The Vikings and Metrodome management are planning for a more orderly exit than what happened after the last game at the dome’s predecessor, Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. After the Vikings lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 20, 1981, thousands of fans rushed the field, tore out seats and toppled the goal posts as they tried to claim souvenirs. Dozens of people were injured.
WCCO-TV reports there will be 700 security guards and off-duty police on the job Sunday. That’s 200 more than normal.
“We don’t expect issues, but we want a plan in place, just to be safe,” said Jeff Anderson, spokesman for the team, told the station.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission, which manages the dome, said it would take a zero-tolerance policy with anyone who tries to sneak souvenirs out of the building on Sunday.
While the Vikings have had a less than stellar year, Michael Nowakowski, owner of TicketKing, told the station he’s had almost no contact from ticket holders willing to skip the dome’s last hurrah.
“It dawned on those people it is the last game of the Metrodome,” Nowakowski said, adding, “In the 25 years I’ve been in business, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Fans in the dome can look forward to one last hurrah after the game ends. The team plans an on-field ceremony with a group of former Vikings, along with star running back Adrian Peterson.