Having exorcised the demons that the specter of the Green Bay Packers had over the Minnesota Vikings by closing the deal and winning the NFC North title Sunday night, the Vikings are providing fans an encore number at TCF Bank Stadium. It will be against what may well be their two most formidable opponent of their two-year engagement at the Interim Bank – the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs and the long-range local weather forecast.
In other parts of the country, the weather portion of the nightly news is often just another segment. Will it rain? Will it be hot? Will it be cold? Will it be windy? Do I need a jacket or an umbrella?
In Minnesota in the winter, there is something of a weather obsession. It’s a badge of honor to survive a weeklong winter cold snap in which the high temperatures are below-zero numbers. Competing local TV and radio stations all claim to be the best source of news and predictions for storms and cold temperatures that symbolize life the Upper Midwest during the winter months.
Small Minnesota towns like International Falls and Embarrass have gained a certain level of fame for the cold temperatures they can endure. If the current weather patterns hold true, Sunday’s game between the Vikings and the Seahawks could approach the all-time record books on what will likely be the final outdoor home game the Vikings ever play.
The local meteorologists don’t agree on just how bad the weather is going to be, but they are all calling for something brutal. According to weather.com, at game time – 12:05 p.m. Central – the weather should be hovering around zero with low temperatures below zero both Sunday and Monday after the sun goes down.
If the game-time temperature is at 0 degrees, it would put the Vikings and Seahawks in the top 10 of the worst cold ever endured. For the record, the current list is as follows:
10. Detroit at Green Bay, Dec. 22, 1990 – 2 degrees.
9. Los Angeles Raiders at Buffalo, Jan. 15, 1994 – 0 degrees (-32 wind chill).
8. L.A. Raiders at Green Bay, Dec. 26, 1993 – 0 degrees.
7. Green Bay at Minnesota, Dec. 10, 1972 – 0 degrees (-18 wind chill).
6. Chicago at Minnesota, Dec. 3, 1972 – minus-2 degrees (-26 wind chill).
5. New York Giants at Green Bay, Jan. 20, 2008 – minus-4 degrees (-24 wind chill).
4. Oakland at Cleveland, Jan. 4, 1981 – minus-5 degrees.
3. Indianapolis at Kansas City, Jan. 7, 1996 – minus-6 degrees.
2. San Diego at Cincinnati, Jan. 10, 1982 – minus 9 degrees (-59 wind chill).
1. Dallas at Green Bay, Dec. 31, 1967 – minus-13 degrees (-48 wind chill).
If it wasn’t bad enough that the Vikings are underdogs in their first home playoff game since the Old Gunslinger made Jerry Jones cry in January 2010 – until you beat the Seahawks, they’re still the conference champs – it would appear that Minnesota weather is going to rear its ugly head.
At a time when the Vikings are going to need their fans to provide as much support as they possibly can, it would appear they’re going to be bundled up like Randy from A Christmas Story, the body painters will be stifled and the applause will be muffled by oversized choppers.
Ah, January football in Minnesota. The fans love their Vikings, but prefer to watch it from the warm confines of their own homes, not the frozen confines of the Interim Bank.
- From the Burning Bridges Department comes this: One can only imagine that the Artist Formerly Known As Ragnar may be regretting donning a Cheesehead on FOX TV Sunday, chanting “Go, Pack, Go!” Considering the Packers are 0-1 with the benefit of his allegiance, picking up a revenge gig probably is off the table now.
- Three of the four home teams for wild card weekend are home underdogs and the only favorite, Washington, is basically in a one-point or pick ‘em situation. Give Sconnies the Packers and a point, they’ll take it every time.
- Pete Carroll said Monday at his weekly press conference that not only will Marshawn Lynch likely be back in Beast Mode (apparently cracking a crown on a deep-frozen handful of Skittles), but so will Pro Bowlers Rusell Okung and Kam Chancellor, who sat out their blowout win over Arizona.