MINNEAPOLIS - The Vikings are planning to bring in extra security for the final game at Mall of America Field on Sunday. It's one of the lessons learned after the Vikings bid farewell to the team's last home, Met Stadium, in 1981.
Matt Blair was one of the players in that game, a linebacker for Vikings against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"You're thinking about, you won't play here again, you're going to a new stadium, and you get excited about it," Blair said of the players' thoughts entering that game. However, the Vikings didn't expect the fan reaction when the clock hit zero.
"All of a sudden as we're coming down the field, the goalpost went down. And there were people on top of it fell down too," Blair recalled.
Blair watched as fans pried loose seats and speakers, even the turf.
"Of course it was snowing, so it was iced up, but they cut pieces of the grass out of there," Blair said.
32 years after the rowdiness at Met Stadium, there are far more security procedures now in place at the Metrodome, including the NFL's strict new bag rule.
The Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will have a zero-tolerance policy for taking stadium property. The team plans to have a 700-person security team on hand, doubling the usual number of Minneapolis officers. The MSFA said fan safety will be the top priority.
One other big difference for the dome's final day is that the end of the game won't be the last word. A big post-game farewell program is planned, with ex-players and former Vikings head coach Bud Grant expected to speak, along with revealing the top moments ever at Mall of America Field.