Thursday, October 24, 2013
Starter Pack: Last dance at the dome
By Rob Demovsky
A roundup of what’s happening in the Green Bay Packers beat.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Barring a meeting in the playoffs (which seems unlikely) or a snag in the plans to start building the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium next season (which is more likely), this will be the Packers’ last appearance in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, known now as Mall of America Field.
And it doesn’t sound like many of those on the visiting side are all that broken up about it.
“There’s so many good memories, and some tough ones, too,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Very difficult place to play, always has been. I can remember being up there in a playoff game in 2000 and the quarterback not being able to hear the play call over the speakers. Just a lot of things like that. Incredible home-field advantage for the Vikings.
“But it’s time.”
The Vikings are expected to play the next two seasons at the University of Minnesota while their new stadium is being constructed on the old site.
McCarthy has actually fared better at the Metrodome than his predecessors. He has a 4-3 record there, including 2-3 with Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback.
Mike Holmgren lost his first three games there as the Packers coach and finished 2-6. Ray Rhodes lost his only game there in 1999. Mike Sherman went 3-3.
“It’s one of the, for sure, one of the three or four loudest places [in the NFL],” Rodgers said. “Obviously, Kansas City and Seattle are very loud for outdoor environments. Detroit is a loud place. Atlanta is a loud place that we played in. It ranks right up there with those, if not more, especially when there’s a late third down in a tight game late in the fourth [quarter], it’s almost impossible to hear.”
- Our ESPN.com coverage included news that injured tight end Jermichael Finley is expected to be released from the hospital on Thursday and that he has been telling teammates that he wants to continue his career despite sustaining a bruised spinal cord. ... Former Packers receiver Greg Jennings, who signed with the Vikings in the offseason, tried to smooth things over with his former team and quarterback after making critical comments about them in the offseason. Jennings on Wednesday said he was “just messing around” and that he “probably took it a little too far.” ... Rodgers said he has been focused on this game – and not Jennings’ comments – but don’t think he has forgotten. ... Vikings coach Leslie Frazier admitted that he knows it will be tough to Jennings to look at this as just another game. ... And finally in the injury report, receiver James Jones still hasn’t returned to practice from his Oct. 13 knee injury, but he was relieved to find out it wasn't a season-ending injury like he first feared
- For the latest on the Vikings, read our Ben Goessling’s reports.
- Aaron Rodgers remains in ESPN's MVP Watch, written by Dan Graziano. See where he comes in.
- At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde dissected Jennings’ comments regarding the Packers and Rodgers.
- In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Weston Hodkiewicz talked to some of the players who will be charged with trying to slow down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
- In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Silverstein wrote that while much of the talk in the locker room was about Jennings' comments, the talk in the meeting rooms was about slowing Jennings on the field.