On Sunday, the Vikings will play their first outdoor playoff game in Minnesota since 1976. The coach of that team recently reflected on the outdoor games of years gone by.
“You don’t stay warm,” Bud Grant told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “You’re cold. So what? We never had anybody who froze to death playing football. You probably had somebody who died from heat stroke playing football.”
Not probably — definitely. Vikings tackle Korey Stringer died of heat exhaustion after a training-camp practice in 2001.
“The hardest thing will be for the fans,” Grant added. “There’s not enough schnapps and blackberry brandy to keep them warm.”
As Kilgore points out, Grant may have allowed alcohol for the fans, but he prohibited gloves, long sleeves, long johns, hand warmers, and heaters for the players.
“We kind of hammed it up a little bit,” Grant said. “The other team would be all warmed up. We’d go out without our warm-ups and had short sleeves. We kind of mocked the other team. We showed them and the fans — this is cold, but this is Minnesota.”
It’s unclear whether the 2015 Vikings, who are playing outside not by choice but because their new indoor stadium is being built on the site of their old indoor stadium, will have the same attitude toward the cold. But wouldn’t it be great to see the Vikings show up on Sunday without any of the stuff the Seahawks will have to keep them warm on one of the coldest days for Minnesota postseason football?
As long as they put schnapps and blackberry brandy in the Gatorade bucket, everything should be fine.