The Brett Favre drama and a 40-14 loss to the Chicago Bears aside, the one-night-only return to outdoor football for the Minnesota Vikings was a rousing success.
Sure, the Vikings were thrashed by the division-clinching Bears, but it hardly seemed to matter. This was football in December outdoors as it used to be at Minnesota's old Metropolitan Stadium. This time the venue was the University of Minnesota's stadium, which was dug out from under snowbanks in time to host the Bears-Vikings game after the Metrodome's roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow.
And just to make sure that it was a memorable night for Viking fans, former coach Bud Grant attended the game. Grant jogged around the field in short sleeves and was carried off the field by some of his former players after a ceremony honoring the best Viking players of all time. It was a classy touch, and a fond reminder of Viking glory days.
In the end, though, the Vikings got beat, and Favre again got beat up. The 41-year-old quarterback had been listed as out all week, then was upgraded to questionable, then started the game. He suffered a concussion in the second quarter, but not before he provided fans with a few more typical Favre moments: A touchdown pass, a grinning celebration ride on an offensive lineman's back and, of course, an interception.
There won't be any more such games this season the Vikings' final two games are on the road and the Metrodome is likely to be fixed when next season begins. The Metrodome's collapse will no doubt fuel discussion of a new domed stadium in Minnesota, and it should.
But for one frigid night, the Vikings and their fans remembered the good old days.