One day after taking to Twitter to rail against the playing conditions at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe conceded that the frozen tundra was not an issue in Monday night's game against the Bears.
"It was much better than it was for the walk-through," Kluwe said, according to 1500ESPN.com. "And I think guys were able to keep their footing pretty well, considering the circumstances with the snow and everything."
The weather varied throughout Chicago's 40-14 romp -- periods of snow mixed with rain and wind to create some slick spots on the turf. Some players had trouble finding their footing during the game, and on more than one play, ball carriers slid several yards across the field before coming to a stop after they were tackled.
Still, given the seemingly dire straits the stadium was in earlier in the week -- with inches upon inches of snow covering both the field and the stands -- Monday's game could be chalked up as a success.
"I thought the field was going to be like we were playing on concrete," Vikings kickoff returner Lorenzo Booker told mndaily.com. "I thought we were going to be sliding everywhere. I had no issues with the turf."
"I thought the conditions were fine," Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said.. "None of our players complained, it didn't create any problems with footing, and it seemed as though both teams performed without any problems with the field."
The field was covered with a tarp and heated until a few hours before kickoff -- one of Kluwe's complaints Sunday was that TCF Bank Stadium, unlike some NFL cold-weather venues such as Green Bay's Lambeau Field, does not employ a heating system under the field, therefore the surface itself had become "as hard as concrete," according to Kluwe. But the portable heaters that the TCF Bank crew used did enough to appease both teams.
"The field is in good shape,'' Bears GM Jerry Angelo told the Chicago Tribune. "Good thing they did the snow removal that they did prior to the game. They had it heated all (Sunday) night. They've done a nice job with it, but it might be a little slippery in spots.''
Despite the positive feedback, the TCF Bank field did not get a unanimous thumbs-up.
"It was tough," Vikings receiver Sidney Rice said, according to 1500ESPN.com. "It's probably the worst, most dangerous field I've played on ever. I've been in the league a long time, I'm from down south, but it was tough conditions. But there are no excuses. The Bears played well on it and won the football game."
An injury to Brett Favre in the second quarter, when the QB was slammed to the turf and left the game with a concussion, opened the door for criticism to fly at the field conditions. But Favre refused to blame the playing surface itself for his injury. And even with that unfortunate incident, the complaints Monday about TCF Bank Stadium were at a minimum.
"I observed the field conditions as they were. I felt that they were unsafe," Kluwe said about his weekend tweets. "Credit to the TCF people and everyone who worked here. They did a great job making sure everything was ready for the game."
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