COOL RUNNINGS: Joseph Will Have To Channel Caribbean Sun For Epic Cold Playoff Game
FROST BIT? Linval Joseph of St. Croix
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – St. Croix’s Linval Joseph is expected to start in the Vikings playoff game against Seattle at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday.
Nose tackle Joseph, who missed last weekend’s victory at Green Bay because of a nagging toe injury, practiced Thursday at Winter Park and is on track to start against the Seattle.
“I think he’ll be good to go,” coach Mike Zimmer said.
That will allow Sharrif Floyd to move back to his tackle spot and give the Vikings a defense full of starters for the first time in weeks. When the Vikings played host to Seattle on Dec. 6, Joseph, linebacker Anthony Barr and safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo missed most or all of the game. Minnesota lost 38-7.
Zimmer said there would be no restrictions on running back Adrian Peterson, out briefly in the second half against the Packers because of back spasms.
“It’s the playoffs,” the coach said. “He’s ready. He’ll be fine.”
Said Peterson: “I’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
The Vikings first outdoor home playoff game in more than 39 years could be the coldest in their history, with temperatures projected to hit a high of 1 degree Sunday.
Before the Vikings face the Seattle Seahawks in what is forecast to be one of the coldest games in NFL history, they are taking steps to help fans brave frigid weather during a playoff game for the first time in two generations.
The Vikings announced Thursday that they will provide hand warmers at entry gates Sunday, and Caribou Coffee will provide free coffee in the Vikings’ fan zone southwest of the stadium.
Free hand-warmers will be distributed in the Fan Zone outside the stadium on Oak Street and at entry gates for those who don’t have their own.
The University of Minnesota will also open Mariucci Arena — where the Gophers’ men’s hockey team plays — as a warming house for fans beginning three hours before kickoff.
The team said it will allow non-battery-operated blankets in the stadium and encouraged fans to bring Styrofoam, cardboard or newspapers to place under their feet. TCF Bank Stadium, which was built in 2009, has bleacher seating in the corners and end zones.
“We know Minnesotans are resilient when it comes to cold weather and unified when it comes to the Vikings, so we view this Sunday’s game as a rallying moment,” Vikings president Mark Wilf said in a statement. “At the same time, we want our fans to be smart and safe when they are supporting the team, and we are taking a few extra steps to assist in that effort this Sunday.”
According to Accuweather.com, the “RealFeel” for Sunday’s game will be minus-23 degrees.
The coldest home game in Vikings history was Dec. 3, 1972, with a temperature of minus-2 at kickoff. The field at Metropolitan Stadium that day was “like painted concrete,” Vikings Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller said Thursday morning.
If the temperature is below zero at kickoff Sunday, it will be one of the six coldest playoff games in NFL history. The last playoff game with a subzero temperature at kickoff was the 2007 NFC Championship Game between theGreen Bay Packers and New York Giants, when it was minus-1 at Lambeau Field.
The Vikings’ frigid day at their temporary home on the University of Minnesota campus could also be their last; they will move back indoors next year, when U.S. Bank Stadium is scheduled to open in downtown Minneapolis.
The Seahawks are 1-7 in games with temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson played one season for the Wisconsin Badgers in 2011.
SUNDAY’S GAME: Somewhere between freezer bowl and ice bowl. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)