The Minnesota Vikings are getting ready for their first season outdoors since the early 1980s before the team moved into the Metrodome. The team will spend the next two seasons outside at TCF Bank Stadium. There have been several teams that made a transition from a pro stadium to a college stadium when renovations were done or a new stadium was built without much success. The question is whether or not the Vikings can be one of the first teams not to have that decline during the transition.
The example that is used most is the Chicago Bears who went from a 13-3 team in 2001 at Soldier Field to a 4-12 team the following season while playing at the University of Illinois. The Seattle Seahawks were a playoff team at 9-7 in 1999 playing at the Kingdome. They moved outside to the University of Washington for the 2000 season and finished 6-10. This is also a Minnesota team that has won just six outdoor games in their last 35 attempts. The Vikings were just 5-10-1 last season and if they were still in the Metrodome this year, they would have been playing five of their first six games under a roof and a total of 11 games indoors.
Instead, they will play just three times under perfect conditions no matter the weather outside. Here is a look at the final game at old Metropolitan Stadium from 1981 before the team moved inside. It is definitely a much different place than what the team has experienced for the last 30 years.
It means that the Vikings are going to need to depend on Adrian Peterson even more than they did in the past especially during those late season games in Minnesota where the weather is likely not going to be ideal. When I took a look at the 2014 schedule when it came out, I had the Vikings at 7-9 this season. That would be an improvement from last year and would buck the trend of teams having trouble in their transition season.
The schedule is obviously very difficult to begin the season and finding seven wins on the season could be a challenge but the bigger thing will be dealing with the conditions again. There has been just the one outdoor game in 2010 after the dome collapse in Brett Favre’s final game that didn’t go well for the Vikings. There is a lot of history against the Vikings being a good team in 2014 with a move from the indoors to the outdoors but maybe this can be the team that makes their own history.