Notebook: Playing surface gets passing grade

Some Vikings entered the game with concerns about the playing surface of TCF Bank Stadium, but they said the field was in better condition than it was after a Sunday walkthrough. Plus, what's the latest on the Brett Favre investigation, what was with a towel he had on the sideline, and get other notes.

For all the pregame consternation about the condition of the playing surface at TCF Bank Stadium, players had few problems with how the "The Bank" treated them on Monday night.

"The field had its spots, but for the most part it was pretty decent," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "When you got to the middle of the field and in the red zone it was pretty slick but for the most part it was in good condition. It played well."

The Vikings, on the other hand, did not. They were blown out 40-14 and left the stadium with regret over their performance, not the atmosphere created by the 40,504 fans in attendance.

"In my opinion, it was good. We do appreciate everything the fans have done to support us," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "These last couple weeks have been rough for them. We were supposed to have two home games at the Metrodome and we didn't get that. We were sure happy the way they came out tonight.

"To be honest with you, I had a lot of fun out there. Obviously, the score is not indicative of what we wanted it to be or any place we wanted to be at the end of the game. Just the conditions and the crowd, that first quarter was so fun. Then things just turned on us. But it was a fun atmosphere and conditions were Minnesotan."

The game kicked off with a temperature of 23 degrees with east-southeast winds at 17 miles per hour and a wind chill of 9 degrees.

"It was a good atmosphere. People were into it. It was loud, it was fun. It was a great experience," said running back Toby Gerhart, who started in place of running back Adrian Peterson.

"I think (the field) was actually pretty good. I can't remember slipping. I don't think too many people slipped and, like I said earlier, credit to the facilities people that got that field ready to go and it turned out really well."

Punter Chris Kluwe, who posted on his Twitter page after Sunday's walkthrough that the field was "unplayable" and "hard as a rock," said after the game that the field was in much better condition than it was Sunday.

With snowed cleared out of the stands and off the field most of last week, and another dose of snow during the day Monday, the grounds crew had its hand full. The University of Minnesota's "M" remained at midfield and the end zones continued to sport the golden "Minnesota" lettering with a maroon background.

"There were a couple of slick spots out there. Outside the numbers, the big M, the end zone, they were all rock hard," said Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. "They were slippery, so you had to be careful. They did a good job of getting the field ready. But without those heating coils under it, there is only so much that they could do."

The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy the weather, throwing snowballs in celebration of Percy Harvin's first touchdown that gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead and later likely out of frustration with the way the Vikings were performing in the second half.

In fact, a few players apologized for the performance.

"The atmosphere was cool. The fans came out and I think they enjoyed it. But I thought the crowd was good and energetic and it was loud," defensive end Jared Allen said. "We're just sorry we disappointed."

"Hats off to the fans, and a lot of them stayed throughout the whole game and they were rowdy," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said. "It was like a playoff atmosphere for me. It was electric. I feel like those fans are really, really die-hard fans here. This whole atmosphere reminded me of old-school football man, back in the Purple People Eater days."

PANTS ON THE GROUND

Play was interrupted briefly when a fan jogged casually onto the field just as the Bears snapped the ball. The play was allowed to stand, and the man got right next to the action after the play was done, appearing to signal first down.

It took security a little bit to recognize what was going on, and the man was leveled and hauled away as his jeans slipped down to his knees.

"Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone," Gerhart said. "I thought it maybe was a coach at first running on the field for some reason and then I saw him keep wandering and I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to turn out bad for him.'"

FAVRE DECISION STILL PENDING

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who attended the game, said the league is still following up on information in its investigation of Favre for allegedly sending inappropriate messages and photos to former Jets game-day hostess Jenn Sterger when the two were both employed by the Jets in 2008.

"I am not going to put a time frame on it, other than I did say I hope that it will be by the end of the season," said Goodell. "… We want to be thorough and serious about it, and reach the right conclusion."

Favre said he met with Goodell for five or 10 minutes.

"It was a very brief conversation. I wouldn't call it an investigation," Favre said.

AN INSPIRATION

Favre had a more extensive meeting on Friday with a 5-year-old boy struggling to keep his life.

"Deanna and I on Friday went to Milwaukee, actually a young man, 5 years old, was dying of a brain tumor, Anderson. I met with his family for about three hours," Favre said after the game, explaining a towel that had a backwards "4" on it. "Leslie was nice enough to excuse me from practice and meetings, so we flew over Friday morning and met with him and his family. Great family. Packer fans. Kind of a conflicting household because this young man, Anderson, had become a Vikings fan as well. Since the brain tumor, he started writing his fours backwards. So, right before the game Deanna sent this towel down with a backwards four, knowing that I knew what that would be about. That was in honor of him."

NOTES

  • Bud Grant entered the field for the team's halftime celebration of the "50 Greatest Vikings" in short sleeves. Tim Irwin and Matt Blair raised Grant on their shoulders and carried him across the field.

  • The Vikings also placed guard Steve Hutchinson on injured reserve with a fractured thumb and signed quarterback R.J. Archer from the practice squad to the active roster before the game after having him on the practice squad last week.

  • The Vikings are also reportedly close to signing quarterback Rhett Bomar off the Giants practice squad.

  • Frazier said said Madieu Williams suffered a concussion.

  • E.J. Henderson had a displaced finger that was put back in place and he returned to the game.

  • Adrian Peterson was inactive for the first time since a knee injury sidelined him in his rookie season in 2007. Peterson and Tarvaris Jackson bumped knee in the previous game and Peterson missed practice time last week because of it. "I don't think he could go whether we were on a surface in September or October, based on what I saw when we tried to work him out. It wouldn't have been wise to put him out there," Frazier said.

  • Favre was asked if he has given any thought to life after football.

    "Is there?" he deadpanned. "I look forward to that. I don't know exactly what that means or what I will do. It has been a 20-year career. Not too many guys can say that. I took one day off, and a half. Again, not a lot of guys can say that. It is about time to relax and I look forward to a little free time spending with the family, cutting a little grass. People say, ‘You're going to get bored doing that.' I get bored playing football, to be honest with you. We all get bored doing something, whatever it is what we like, if you do it long enough. I know I put everything I could into it. I got everything I dreamed of and then some out of it. Onto the next phase."


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