Vikings ponder the craziest of seasons

The Vikings have endured a decade or plotlines in one season, culminating (we think) with a three-game home stand in a third different stadium tonight. ‘Just when you think you've seen it all, there's always tomorrow,' Ryan Longwell said.

The Vikings' season has been termed "a soap opera" by many fans and media alike. It would seem that something has been the subject of national attention – from the late re-arrival of Brett Favre to the delayed surgery to Sidney Rice to Randy Moss to the Brad Childress firing. It seemed a week didn't go by without some new chapter being added to the longest running daytime drama in the Twin Cities.

With the Vikings barely clinging to their postseason life two weeks ago, the one advantage they had was that they were going to play their next three games in the Metrodome, where the team feeds off the deafening noise of the crowd and has been very hard to beat the last couple of years.

But, as the now-infamous video of the roof collapsing is proof, the Vikings' home in the dome was no longer open for business.

The result has been bizarre to say the least. The Vikings' three-game homestand has three games that will be played in three different stadiums – Buffalo at the Metrodome, the Giants at Ford Field in Detroit and the Bears in TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

Like so many other distractions and the departure from the normal work week during the season, linebacker Chad Greenway said it's just something else the Vikings have to adjust to.

"It's obviously something we had to deal with – another distraction from the normal routine," Greenway said. "The Giants had to deal with it in a big way last week as well. The difference is that we lost a home game. (Detroit) was as welcoming as they could be, but it wasn't a home game for us at the Metrodome or TCF. But that's the reality of it and the question is, ‘What do we do about it?' We just have to adapt to it."

With an underground mantra of "never say never" when it comes to the number of distractions one team can endure in a season. Just when you think you've seen it, you're proved wrong. Even in the midst of the mammoth December blizzard that buried the Twin Cities in up to two feet of snow, players never thought about the prospect of their home getting flattened by the storm.

Greg Camarillo has dealt with both earthquakes (in California) and hurricanes (in Florida), giving him a mega-storm trifecta with last week's blizzard. He said that, with all the distractions surrounding them, Winter Park and the Metrodome were the eyes of the hurricane – the two places where it was calm. That got shattered when the roof came down.

"You try to keep focused on what's in front of you, but I remember saying to a friend of mine when we got that first blizzard how happy I was the next two games were going to be at home and inside," Camarillo said. "I guess that's what I get for thinking that things are going to go as planned without anything different coming in to change it. But who could have predicted that a roof would collapse? We've had a lot of things happen this year, but the roof falls in? Nobody would have thought that."

The absurdity of the players and coaches who have found themselves shaking their heads and asking "what next?" couldn't have come up with this scenario. With the Metrodome collapsing may be the defining moment on getting a new stadium built, but for the players, it couldn't have been predicted that an NFL team would technically be homeless and dependent on the kindness of strangers.

"Could I envision the roof collapsing from snow? No, I wouldn't," linebacker Ben Leber said with a laugh. "You could give me a million different scenarios and I never would have thought we would have three home games in three different places."

Some players have become almost numb to the soap opera plotlines flying over their heads all season. Safety Husain Abdullah said his focus has been on trying to prepare for the Giants and Bears over the last 10 days, not considering where said games would be played.

"I guess I hadn't even thought about it," Abdullah said. "I wonder if that's ever happened? It's just that kind of year for us. This year has been all over the place. I guess it's kind of fitting that, just when you think you've seen it all, something else even bigger happens next."

For some players, it has simply been a matter of shaking their heads and accepting that karma is kicking them when they're down. Kevin Williams said he's seen a lot in his time in Minnesota – both good and bad, keeping in mind he was the player taken when the Vikings messed up the draft clock and dropped two spots without making their pick. He was as shocked as anyone when the Metrodome roof met the Metrodome floor.

"Nobody could have figured that something like this would happen," Williams said. "The dome has been here for 30 years and we've had big snowstorms here in the past and it never came down. But, it is what it is and we have to make the best of it and try to get a win."

In the end, all most players could do was shrug their shoulders and say, "Really? This too?" They've become almost like a tragic love story – so much promise, but such a heart-breaking end. Could anyone have envisioned the Metrodome collapse? Compared to what else has been thrown on the pile, the Vikings aren't asking "why?" – they're asking "why not?"

"That would have been the million-dollar question," kicker Ryan Longwell said. "A three-game home stand in three different stadiums is certainly the craziest of all crazy seasons and it's just one chapter after another. Just when you think you've seen it all, there's always tomorrow."

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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