Security to be increased in NFL stadiums

Mall of Amercia Field (Jon Dahlin/Viking Update)

After several fans incidents at other stadiums, pregame pat-downs of fans will now go from head to toe. The latest incident involved a Taser that was brought into a stadium using an ankle holster.

Fans heading to Mall of America Field Sunday will be in for a surprise … and a wait.

The 10th anniversary of 9/11 also marked the 10th anniversary of the NFL taking security at its stadiums much more seriously. Fans attending NFL games have become accustomed to the procedure of getting in lines and being patted down. The initial implementation of the security procedures resulted in delays outside stadiums, but, as fans got used to the process, they adjusted accordingly – realizing that, if they want to see the start of the game, they would have to enter the stadium a few minutes earlier.

Just as the largely forgotten shoe bomber made airlines aware that explosives could be detonated in shoes resulted in air travelers putting their shoes in buckets as they go through airport security, a pair of recent examples of fan violence has heightened security inside and outside of stadiums.

In a preseason game between the Raiders and the 49ers, a Bay Area brawl broke out in the stadium that heightened the need for more security to break up similar fights. But an incident Sunday night at the Meadowlands sent shock waves through those in charge of protecting fans. Leroy McKelvey, 59, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and two weapons charges after being involved in a dust-up between fans in Cowboys gear and Jets gear. He is charged with pulling out a Taser and using it on one of the other people in the fight. He allegedly got the Taser into the stadium with an ankle holster.

As a result, when fans head into stadiums on Sunday, the customary pat search which was from waist up, will now extend all the way to the ground. The extension of the pat searches will add to the time it takes to complete seraches, so fans may want to be forewarned – whether they're entering the Metrodome Sunday or any of the 15 other stadiums hosting games. If you plan to tailgate and cut it tight to get inside, you might miss Percy Harvin attempting to become the first player to score touchdowns on the opening kickoff two straight games.

You've been warned.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • LB E.J. Henderson may be one of the first Vikings victims of the lack of a typically training camp/preseason routine. He missed practice Thursday after waking up with a swollen knee following the first practice after the first full game for him.

  • DE Adrian Awasom missed his second straight day of practice with a knee injury. CB Asher Allen (toe) and WR Michael Jenkins (groin) are both still listed on the injury report, but both fully practiced for the second straight day.

  • Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow, who missed Wednesday's practice, returned fully on Thursday and was removed from the injury report.

  • Bucs rookie DE Da'Quan Bowers was added to the injury list with a shoulder injury. He was limited in Thursday's practice.

  • Former Viking Benny Sapp was replaced on the Miami roster by former Dolphin Will Allen.

  • Fans have always played a role in coaching decisions, whether it's admitted or not. When a starting QB has struggled and fans either boo so loudly it's deafening or start chanting the name of the backup, it's amazing how often that impetus leads to a change – whether in-game or between weeks of the season. Broncos fans have taken it one step further. Eight fans who squirreled away $10,000 to attend the Super Bowl in Indianapolis have instead spent the money to put up a billboard in Denver proclaiming their wish to have Kyle Orton benched and Tim Tebow named the starter.

  • Brian Urlacher returned to Bears practice Thursday, a day earlier than expected following the unexpected death of his mother at age 51.

  • Felony charges were officially filed against Amy Senser, the wife of former Vikings TE Joe Senser. Highway Patrol determined that Amy Senser was driving the Mercedes SUV that struck and killed a Minneapolis man and fled the scene of the accident. She was released on $150,000 bail. She faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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