Well, this nightmare ride of a season is almost over for the Vikings. At this point, all that remains in week 17 is saying goodbye to the Metrodome. No one will argue that the building itself is terrible, but boy have there been some magical and heartbreaking moments under that teflon dome. So allow me to wax nostalgic with you for a moment as we say goodbye and get ready to usher in the next era of Vikings football.
I consider myself lucky to have seen so many Gophers, Vikings, and Twins games, as well as a World Series game seven and a Final Four in that building. It will be hard not to shed a tear at the thought of never walking in the crowed hallways again, cramming myself into those hard blue chairs or singing Skol Vikings with loved ones and strangers. Thankfully, the 32 years of memories I have made with family and friends will stick with me.
Sports have a way of bringing us together. Like music, the memory of a particular game can vividly bring you back to that time and place. I will never forget the feeling of celebrating with my mom as Gene Larkin’s base hit dropped onto the outfield turf in 1991. Then there was getting to watch the final four in person with my dad in 2001. It was amazing to be at an event of such magnitude and to share it with the person who is responsible for my love of sports. The times with him in that stadium have formed a special bond between us that I am so thankful for. I’ll also never forget all the games I attended with my cousin, taking my wife to her first Vikings game after tailgating and the roller coaster ride of game 163 for the Twins in 2009. The smells, sounds and conversations stay with you and become a part of you. In that way, the Metrodome itself has become a part of who I am.
Then, of course, there are all the Vikings games. I have witnessed so many amazing wins and painful losses. Being able to watch players like Chris Carter, Randy Moss, John Randle, Brett Favre (for and against the Vikings) and Adrian Peterson when they’re at their best is like nothing else. You know you were in the presence of greatness. Next are the moments that will be remembered forever such as Brett Favre to Greg Lewis, Chris Carter’s 1000th catch, and Adrian Peterson rushing for 296 yards. You can’t picture those moments without thinking about the building they were played in. And just as memorable as the highs are the painful losses. Like most Vikings fans, the devastation of the 1998 NFC championship still haunts me. It was a punch to the stomach that will never be forgotten.
Finally, the fans and the way that sterile, old building comes alive with people in purple and gold who bring cheers and sounds so deafening it makes your ears hurt (in a good way) is what has made the Dome so special. My last game in that stadium will end up being the game versus Washington earlier this year. I was on the field during that game and as the clock struck zero, I found myself looking up at the crowd. Their cheers literally gave me chills and all the emotions I felt over the years rushed through me. It’s been a heck of a run!
The Metrodome is a place where I laughed, cried and screamed until my voice was gone. It will always connect me to my past and remind me of those I sat with. It is hard to say goodbye, but I do so with the joy of memories to last a lifetime.
I would love to hear your memories in the comment section. What will you miss? What are your favorite moments? And most importantly, who did you share them with?
—CLICK HERE to see which players our Bryan Kvitek thought deserved credit in Sunday’s loss to Bengals.