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Longwell knew both sides of Dome crowd
Ryan Longwell (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Posted Dec 28, 2013
Ryan Longwell kicked for and against the Vikings in the Metrodome and quickly realized a distinct difference in din.
Those who played for the Vikings during the Metrodome years knew the value of having a roof above the crowd noise that made the Dome a distinct home-field advantage. Those who played against the Vikings for years hated coming to dome sweet dome.
was one of several high-profile members of the
Green Bay Packers
that found a home in Minnesota when the Packers decided to move on with younger, less expensive players – a list that included Darren Sharper and Brett Favre.
The most difficult transition for Longwell was arguably the easiest. He had learned to hate and respect the Metrodome and was shocked by what happened when he kicked his first field goal for the home team.
“Coming over here as a Packer for so many years, it was always deafening when we were trying field goals,” Longwell said. “When I attempted my first field goal in the preseason with the Vikings, it was silent. That was the weirdest feeling for me. It was surreal. I got goose bumps.”
Longwell’s success rate at the Metrodome didn’t keep the fans quiet for long. Instead of the crowd screaming before he kicked the ball, the screaming came afterward. His career highlight was making a 50-yard field goal to beat the Giants on the final game of the 2008 season that sent the Vikings to the playoffs. It was about as loud as the Metrodome got because of what was at stake. Longwell said he always got a boost from the Vikings fans that gave him confidence he could make any field goal he attempted.
“The fans were really a big part of things,” Longwell said. “Brett always had a hard time communicating and it seemed like our offense was half a step slow more times than not because it was so loud the linemen and the receivers had to look for the ball being snapped because they couldn’t always hear the snap count. We struggled and would lose here year after year after year.”
When Longwell was named to the All-Metrodome team as its kicker, he decided to bring his entire family back to Minnesota from their South Florida home to be part of the festivities celebrating the history of the Dome.
“My whole family came up here for the game,” Longwell said. “We have a lot of happy memories here as a family and I wanted them to be part of this honor with me. Minnesota always seemed like family to me and I’m glad that my family could be part of it. I have great memories of playing with the Packers, but the years my kids grew up here are very special to me and Minnesota will always be a place we all consider home and the Metrodome was a big part of that.”
It won’t take
long to pick through the Vikings on the 2014 Pro Bowl roster because there is only one: running back
. While there were hopes that perhaps
would get named as an outside linebacker,
as a defensive end, or
might get named, not enough Vikings stood out in a 4-10-1 season to get the nod aside from A.D. Patterson was likely the victim of a changed Pro Bowl format that eliminated kickoff returns but still rewarded punt returners.
By being named to his sixth Pro Bowl, Peterson is entering some rarified air when it comes to Vikings history. He joins fellow Vikings
, Matt Blair, Joey Browner, Chris Doleman, Carl Eller, Steve Jordan, Paul Krause,
, Mick Tingelhoff and
as six-time Pro Bowl selections.
In the historical context, Peterson trails only Randall McDaniel (11 selections to the Pro Bowl), Alan Page (9),
(8) and Ron Yary (7) in team history for the most Pro Bowl selections.
With Peterson and
both expected to miss Sunday’s game,
will his get his second career start Sunday. In his first game, he didn’t gain many yards per carry, but crossed the end zone three times.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for
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Dec 27, 2013
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