Lisa Merritt has been a Minnesota Vikings fan her whole life. Her garage and fridge are splashed with the menacing Viking logo, and having grown up in the land of 10,000 lakes, she has many memories of going to Vikings games.
“I got to see the last game at Met Stadium, and the first game at the dome,” she remembers fondly.
The last game at Metropolitan Stadium didn’t end so well for the Vikings — they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 on Dec. 20, 1981. Merritt says it was a great time nonetheless, with lots of beer and plenty of fights. She still has the souvenir shirt handed out to everyone that day at the old 47,900 capacity stadium.
Luckily, the team would fare better in the new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The 1982 season started with a win in their first home game at the new complex with a 7-3 triumph over the Seattle Seahawks in a preseason match-up at the new 62,220 capacity (which would eventually expand to 64,121) stadium. Their good fortune continued when they went on to win their first regular season game in a 17-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While Merritt has lived in Iowa for 17 years now, she and her family’s Viking traditions are as strong as ever.
“Every Sunday is Viking football day,” she smiles.
The whole family gets together in their matching Adrian Peterson jerseys to cheer on the team. Merritt’s maiden name is Peterson, so it makes sense the family would don top NFL running back Adrian Peterson’s No. 28 jersey. Naturally, he’s also her son Ryan Peterson’s favorite player.
“I think he will break the record this year, bearing he doesn’t get hurt,” Ryan says confidently, referring to the rushing yards record Peterson almost broke last year. He fell short by just nine yards.
Making football Sundays even more special, the family packs up food and drinks to bring the football fun to Merritt’s 77-year-old mother, who resides in a nursing home in Grimes. Many of the other residents have become accustomed to this and get excited when the family arrives in all their football swag.
“It gives them something to look forward to,” Merritt beams.
Of course they also take this opportunity to convert everyone they can to Vikings fans.
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