CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears looks for running room against the New England Patriots at Soldier Field on December 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Patriots defeated the Bears 36-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Forte
The Chicago Bears will hold a Saturday practice on Northwestern University's Ryan Field to prepare for Monday night's match-up against the Minnesota Vikings in a still-being-shoveled-out TCF Bank Stadium.
The University of Minnesota stadium is being brought out of hibernation due to the collapse of the Metrodome's roof. The Gophers reported Friday morning that 90 percent of the playing surface had been cleared with the help of hundreds of volunteers.
Still, the locale isn't sitting well with all of the Bears.
"It's like a huge fight, a big ordeal all year about, you know, concussions and what can we do to protect the players," he said. "[But] let’s send ‘em out to Minnesota on a potentially frozen surface. It’s one of those things that makes me scratch my head," said Lance Briggs.
"We're all playing on the same field, and I guess we don't have a choice. We'll try and get the best shoes you can for the footing and see what happens, I guess. The field's not going to be soft. it's a hard field. It's like playing on concrete. If that's what they want us to do, we'll do it," said Brian Urlacher.
But the university said the stadium will be in good condition for Monday's game.
"Because the field has been under a blanket of snow and at a constant temperature since last week's storm, the playing surface is in great shape," said University of Minnesota associate athletic director Scott Ellison.
Head coach Lovie Smith had been criticized for holding a number of indoor practices, but said it was so players can concentrate on their plays rather than the elements.
"I think you can concentrate a little better when you are inside," he said Wednesday. I think it's fairly obvious what the advantage is inside this time of the year, that's why you have those indoor facilities."
The Vikings, who have also been practicing indoors, will also hold an outdoor practice Saturday.