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Published: 12/13/2010

Lions halt distribution of free NFL tickets for Vikings, Giants game

MINNEAPOLIS — Through the years, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings have turned to the Detroit Lions for comfort when things weren't going their way.

The Vikings are 21-2 against the Lions in their last 23 meetings and Favre has more completions, yards and victories against them than any other team in his career.

Now, with Favre hurting and the Vikings rendered homeless by a massive snowstorm, the Lions are there for them both again.

The Vikings' home game against the New York Giants was moved to Monday night in Detroit after the Metrodome's inflated roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow early Sunday morning.

Tickets for the game were being honored by fans making the trip. The Lions started distributing free general admission tickets Monday at 9 a.m., but less than two hours later announced a halt to the giveaway after receiving an “overwhelming response.”

Shivering fans braving 12-degree temperatures lined up hours before the box office opened.

The delay has given Favre more time to heal his sprained right shoulder, with his NFL-record streak of 297 straight regular-season starts hanging in the balance. It also gives the Vikings a warm, dry place to play after more than 17 inches of snow tore two giant holes in the Teflon roof and erased the familiar puffy white top from the east side of the downtown skyline.

Favre told USA Today on Sunday that he doubted he will be able to play on Monday night, but added that the postponement “does buy a little time.”

Time, according to interim coach Leslie Frazier, is exactly what the 41-year-old quarterback needs. He barely practiced at all this week and still has not thrown a proper pass since Bills linebacker Arthur Moats blindsided him last week and knocked him out of the game on the first series.

Frazier said he still thinks there's a possibility Favre can play, “especially with an extra day” of rest.

“The rest is as important as anything for him,” Frazier said. “We'll still get a chance to test some things out (Monday). This just bought us another day from a rest standpoint and treatment.”

The game originally was scheduled for Sunday afternoon and already had been pushed back because of the storm that dumped 17 inches of snow on Minneapolis and caused the Giants plane to be diverted from the Twin Cities to Kansas City on Saturday.

Metrodome officials told the league the roof wouldn't be ready in time to play Monday or Tuesday, which sent the NFL and teams scrambling to find a new venue. The league also had discussions with New Orleans, St. Louis and Indianapolis and briefly considered the University of Minnesota's outdoor stadium before deciding to hold the game at Ford Field at 7:20 p.m. EST.

“Joke goin round is Gods Tryin to preserve Bretts streak record,” Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian wrote on Twitter. “Lol!!”

About an hour after the Lions beat the Packers at Ford Field on Sunday, stadium workers started scrubbing LIONS from one of the end zones.

“Obviously, we want to make it as hospitable as possible for the Vikings, since this is their home game,” Lions president Tom Lewand said. “We will do everything we can.”

It's the fourth time in the 29-year history of the Metrodome that the roof has caved in from heavy snow, and first since 1983, when a baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and California Angels had to be postponed.

The Vikings are scheduled to host the Bears on Monday night next week. Metrodome officials are optimistic that the roof can be repaired in time, but it is still unclear if that will be the case.

“Just when you think you've seen it all, there's always tomorrow,” punter Chris Kluwe tweeted.



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