Vikings survive, even thrive, in the cold

The Vikings tried to make the best of a frigid game and use it to their advantage.

Cold weather was a popular topic of discussion after Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers. It was the seventh-coldest home game in Minnesota Vikings history, starting out at 12 degrees with a 17 MPH wind. The coldest game in Vikings history was Dec. 3, 1972 against the Chicago Bears when it was minus-2 degrees with an 11 MPH wind.

But the weather didn’t seem to affect the play on the field very much – there weren’t many fumbles or dropped passes. Players, for the most part, did not seem to mind the weather; even the ones who were born and raised in the South seemed to be OK with it.

“You know, the conditions weren’t too bad,” said Vikings wide receiver and Arkansas native Jarius Wright. “If you ask me, this is football weather. It was fun playing out there in the cold. You can’t take it for granted because you never know which play is going to be your last and there’s thousands of fans who would love to be out here playing.”

Although Wright may think that there were fans wishing they could be playing, the truth of the matter is that they were probably happier sitting in their heated houses watching the game on their big-screen TVs, as the upper deck had plenty of empty seats.

Players and coaches alike were very thankful for the fans that did decide to brave the elements to help cheer on their beloved team during the game.

“I want to tell the fans that I appreciate them being here, being out in the cold, the seventh-coldest I saw on the scoreboard, seventh coldest in Vikings history,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “It means a lot to us when they come out and they support us like they did. They were very loud, especially in the first half.”

The Vikings were able to jump out to a big lead early in the game, thanks to two blocked punts by the special teams unit.

Players said it’s never as cold when they’re winning, so perhaps the fans felt the same way.

“It was chilly. I told the guys it’s always a lot warmer when you win because you’re excited, your adrenaline is rolling, and you’re jumping around,” said Greg Jennings. “I mean, if you are losing in a game like this, that temperature kind of stings you and you almost want to quit.”

Even though a lot of the players were fine playing in the cold weather, there were some who did not have as much fun. Defensive end Everson Griffen – who grew up in Arizona and went to college in South Carolina – was one of those players on Sunday, and he was not afraid to say that he was cold.

“It was freezing,” Griffen said. “I could not feel my hands in that first half; they were rock solid. You can have on all the warm gear you want, but at the end of the day if it’s cold, it’s cold.”

The Vikings will be stuck playing outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium for the rest of this season and all of next as their future home continues to be built, and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater realizes that. He hopes that the Vikings can use the weather to their advantage and make it a real home-field advantage.

“We know that this is going to be our home for the next two years,” Bridgewater said. “And the remaining two home games we have this year, and we’re going to use it to our advantage”

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