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Blizzard blows Giants-Vikes all the way into next day

Defensive end Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings

Defensive end Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates a sack against Tony Romo in last year's NFC Divisional Playoffs. (Jan. 17, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Talk about flex scheduling!

A blizzard that ripped through the Twin Cities has forced both the Giants and the NFL to call an audible.

While the Giants’ flight to Minneapolis on Saturday was diverted to Kansas City, where the team spent an unplanned night, the game itself against the Vikings was rescheduled for a spur-of-the-moment Monday Nighter. Last night the league and teams were putting the finishing touches on details such as the time for kickoff and how the game would be aired on television.

The primary concern for moving the game, which was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Sunday, was the accumulation of dangerous amounts of snow on the roof of Mall of America Field, a league source said last night. High winds in the area prevented workers from ascending the roof to remove the snow that was dumped on the area.

“Due to the severe weather conditions and on the recommendation of Metrodome officials, the Giants-Vikings game will be moved to Monday night,” the NFL said in a statement.

Besides logistics, the move has serious football ramifications. It allows Brett Favre to have about 36 more hours to rest and prepare his ailing shoulder for a possible 298th straight regular-season start. And while it also gives the Giants a chance to have some of their key players in better shape – receivers Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, both coming back from injuries, were listed as probable – it also forces the Giants to face a short upcoming week with an important game against the Eagles looking next Sunday.

The move to Monday came late Saturday night, the final tweak in an already confusing day. The Giants began their journey by leaving about three hours earlier than originally planned in an effort to beat the snow to Minneapolis. That decision was made on Friday. Obviously the Giants did not leave early enough as several feet of snow fell on the Minneapolis airport, which closed all four of its runways around noon on Saturday.

The league seemed insistent on starting the game as scheduled at 1 p.m., and the Giants seemed compliant in that plan. After spending the night in Kansas City, the Giants were scheduled to depart that airport at 9 a.m. and arrive in Minneapolis around 10. That would have given them three hours to get to the stadium and prepare for the game.

According to league sources, the plan for most of the day on Saturday was to move the game to a 4 p.m. start only if the Giants arrived in Minneapolis any later than 10 a.m.
But at around 10 p.m. on Saturday, it was decided that the game would be moved to Monday night.

Such an abrupt change is not unprecedented. In fact, this is the second time in five years that a Giants game has been moved from a Sunday to a Monday night. In 2005, a game against the Saints had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Katrina. That game was also moved to New York, where the Saints played as the home team. The location of the Giants-Vikings game will not be moved.

The last NFL game to be rescheduled was a Texans-Ravens game in early 2008 that was played several weeks later – when both teams had a scheduled bye – due to damage to Reliant Stadium from Hurricane Ike.

New York Sports