In a report presented to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Thursday, Metrodome engineer Steve Maki said that the roof of the dome remains in good condition and the 28-year-old Teflon roof should be good for at least the next four years – the approximate timetable that would be required if a new stadium is approved in the 2011 Legislative session.
"In this climate with less UV (ultraviolet rays) and less humidity (than other parts of the country), the materials continue to perform well," Maki told the MSFC, according to the Star Tribune.
To replace the Metrodome bubble would cost nearly $15 million and would take about five years to happen – a timetable that won't work for the Vikings, who have made it clear they want to be playing in a new stadium after their Metrodome lease expires in 2011.
The inspection, which was performed last month, showed very little damage to the roof, which is made up of two ultra-thin layers – an outside Teflon layer that is just 1/32nd of an inch thick and a fiberglass inner layer that is 1/64th of an inch thick. Despite having a shelf life estimate of 20 years, the fabric strength still met the original specifications, according to the Star Tribune. The only damage discovered was a thin layer of oily material blamed on years of monster truck rallies held in the Metrodome ("Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!").
The roof deflated three times early in the history of the dome, which prompted the MSFC to sue the builder, for which it won a $3.6 million award. There are currently only three similar fabric domes remaining in use.
While the Vikings have no intention of playing in the Metrodome much longer, the roof that protects the field from the elements will remain in place for the foreseeable future – for better or worse.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.