The Metrodome held its final game yesterday with the Vikings' win over the Lions, and the facility appeared to lose "only a few small items" to memento seekers, as team security staff and the Minneapolis police "doubled their presence in the 32-year-old building brimming with history" to prevent theft, according to a front-page piece by Andy Greder of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson John Elder said that about 25 fans "were caught trying to steal seats and banners, but they were not arrested," and added that the fans "were caught in the concourse or outside the stadium." Elder said that the seats and banners "were confiscated, and the fans left with nothing more than a reprimand." He added that the Vikings' security staff "increased to about 600 from around 400 and the number of Minneapolis police officers increased to 110 from 60." The Vikings "were able to avoid a repeat of the bedlam" that occurred after the team's final game at Metropolitan Stadium in '81 (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/30).
FANS SEEK FINAL FAREWELL: In Minneapolis, Richard Meryhew in a front-page piece reports about 64,000 fans "braved a bitter December chill to bid farewell to the much-maligned Teflon-covered stadium." They "came from Iowa and North Dakota and as far away as London to catch a piece of history." The Metrodome in the coming weeks "will be razed to make way" for a $1B, "state-of-the-art upgrade." The dome "went out Sunday with a bit of a whimper," as there were "extra security officers lining the field at game’s end and an additional 50 off-duty Minneapolis police officers working the concourse and the crowd." Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said, "No one was injured. Everything was respectful. It was a great day." The Vikings will play the next two seasons outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium on the Univ. of Minnesota Campus, with their new stadium "scheduled to open in time" for the '16 season (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/30).
A LOOK BACK AT THE 'DOME: In Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse noted the Metrodome opened in '82 "for an original cost" of $55M. Insults regarding the facility's quality "were so frequent that the offended Dome staff for years had the slogan 'We Like It Here' painted above the tunnel in the right field corner." The "more fitting epitaph for the Metrodome’s gravestone would be, 'We Got Our Money’s Worth'" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/29).