The Vikings haven't had a game blacked out locally for more than 10 years, but with thousands of tickets remaining for Sunday's game, that's still a possibility.
1997 was a bad year for Vikings fans. Many fans from the Twin Cities had to spend their Sundays traveling to places like the Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Hinckley to watch Vikings games. That year, four of the team's eight home games were blacked out and the first talk of the Vikings potentially relocating elsewhere began to gain steam.
It was the final season of the Gang of Ten ownership group and things weren't all that positive in Vikingsland. A lot changed over the next year. The Vikings drafted a superstar talent in Randy Moss
that April and a Texas maverick named Red McCombs bought the team. The combination helped energize the fan base and blackouts became a thing of the past. Since then, the Vikings have played 107 preseason, regular season and postseason games at the Metrodome. All of them have sold out. That streak may be in serious jeopardy this Sunday.
As of Monday, the Vikings still had approximately 3,700 unsold tickets for the game. Under ordinary circumstances, the team would only have until noon tomorrow to sell the remaining seats in order to prevent a blackout. It is certain the Vikings will ask for and likely receive an extension to noon Friday, but the problem isn't going to go away easily.
Last year, the local TV affiliates had to pony up to buy out the remaining seats for three games to avoid local blackouts. Only the Bears and Packers games are sure to be sellouts the rest of the way and, with a struggling economy, it wouldn't be a surprise if the local affiliates say "thanks, but no thanks" to buying up huge blocks of tickets.
The Vikings had this problem a year ago, but at the time it was always the believed that some corporation would step in and buy up the remaining seats. With the clock ticking, there doesn't seem to be the same level of assurance this time around. Those within the blackout zone that have NFL Sunday Ticket may be upset to learn that their local game will be blacked out on that network as well if the seats go unsold.
Let the waiting came begin. Tick … tick … tick …
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