The collapsed roof of the Metrodome, caused by the weight of snow pileup, is now expected to be inflated in July, and ready to be used in late August. So, regardless of when the 2011 NFL season starts, the dome should be ready.
When the 2011 schedule was released, back-to-back potential cold-weather games were on the schedule late in the season: in Minnesota on December 11 and Tennessee the next week.
Because of the damage to the Metrodome, the Vikings feared they would have to move to the open-air TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The average high temperature is 28 degrees on December 11.
For decades, the Vikings had a dominating home field advantage at Metropolitan Stadium, where frigid temperatures and blowing snow made the stadium in winter one of the most intimidating venues in the league.
The Vikings moved out of Metropolitan Stadium in 1982 and have played in the Metrodome ever since. The Saints were 0-4 in Metropolitan Stadium, losing by an average score of 28-6. The Saints are 2-8 in the Metrodome.
The Saints last played outdoors in Minnesota on November 15, 1981, when they lost to the Vikings 20-10 at Metropolitan Stadium, though the temperature was a civilized 52 degrees at kickoff. Prior to that, the Saints played the Vikings on December 1, 1974, losing 29-9 in below-freezing weather.