The Metrodome: A Look Back
By Nick Vespasiano
Since it opened in 1982, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome has been home to the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, Gophers football team, and of course Monster Jam (kids seats still just five bucks!). It has hosted an MLB All-Star Game, two World Series, a Super Bowl, and two NCAA Final Fours.
But since I can remember, The Dome has been known for (among other things) its lack of sunlight, awful concourses, sticky floors, troughs in the men’s bathroom, and overall just being the dump that it was. Despite the sentimental value of it being “our dump”, no one is really that sad to see it go.
Yesterday’s Vikings 14-13 win over the Detroit Lions marks the last event held in the Metrodome, which will be torn down to make room for the Vikings’ new stadium set to open in 2016.
Here’s some of my favorite memories of the Metrodome:
The Vikings 1998 Season
A 15-1 season that ended in a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons after kicker Gary Anderson’s only missed field goal of the season. Rookie wide receiver Randy Moss formed an unlikely connection with quarterback Randall Cunningham, catching 69 passes for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns. Veteran wideout Cris Carter also helped make this one of the best offenses in NFL history.
Adrian Peterson Runs for 296 Yards
In his rookie season in 2007, we knew we had a special player in Adrian Peterson. It was one of the best seasons ever for a rookie running back. The most notable game that year, and probably of his whole career, was a home game against the San Diego Chargers where he set the NFL record for rushing yards in a game with 296 yards on 30 carries.
Joe Mauer’s AL-MVP Season
All the cheesy “hometown hero” stuff aside, that 2009 season was pretty incredible. I went to several of Twins games that year, where it was not uncommon to see Joe go 4-4, 3-4, or 4-5. Finishing with a .400 batting average was not out of the question for a decent portion of the season. After spending the first month of the season out with injury, he finished batting .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs en route to a division title. I will always remember being at the Dome to see his first game back from injury, where he homered to the opposite field on his first swing.
Favre’s Magical Year
I will never forget the aerial shot of Brett Favre’s black Range Rover arriving at the Viking’s practice facilities in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. It was like the president had just arrived. I knew we were in for a treat that season but it was far better than I could have hoped. They went 12-4, highlighted by Favre’s best statistical season at the ripe old age of 40. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The best moments in the Dome include Favre’s last second touchdown pass to beat San Francisco (its Greg Lewis!), stomping Green Bay, and a playoff route of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Roof Collapse
In my freshman year of college, walking home late from a party, the snow was up to our knees and was only getting worse. It snowed around 17 inches that night and I woke up Sunday morning to find out that blizzard killed the Metrodome. The Vikings and Giants had to play at Ford Field in Detroit instead.
AP’s MVP Season
28 makes his second appearance on this list. He spent last season chasing Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record of 2,105, coming up just short with 2,097. It was enough to earn him MVP honors after tearing his ACL the season before. Averaging 6.0 yards per carry, game in game out he carried the team to an unlikely 10-6 record and a playoff birth. In the last home game of the season against Green Bay, he totaled 199 yards in a must win game to secure a wild card spot in the playoffs.
These are just a few memories that stand out to me. Destruction of the Metrodome begins in January and while it will always have a place in my heart, I can’t say I’ll miss it.
Nick Vespasiano is a senior English major at St. Olaf College and aspiring sports writer. He was raised in Minnesota, favorite teams are the Vikings, Wild, and Twins. Favorite athletes are Randy Moss and Jaromír Jágr.