They're putting finishing touches on Mall of America field today -- literally.
Painters are applying the field markings and logos on the turf in the Metrodome for the last time this week, ahead of what will be the last season for the Vikings in the stadium.
"Straightest lines in the NFL," said Leo Pidde, the Metrodome's manager of building services. "We'll be touching it up during the year, because there's wear on but this is it, the last season."
He said the field has been painted hundreds of times since 1982, when the building opened. It's been less so lately, since the Gophers moved football back to campus and the Twins moved to Target Field.
A crew of three is working on it today. Painter Wayne Enger said it takes as long as a week to completely paint the field, although it can be rushed through in half a day. Maintenance personnel will put more than 40 gallons of paint on the turf ahead of Friday's game.
"Art? Well there's a little bit of talent, but I call it paint by numbers," said Ken Yanish, who's been painting the field for about 15 years. "You put out your blocker, and follow the numbers."
And it may very well be his last paint job ever for the Vikings. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said the new stadium that is set to break ground this fall may have interchangeable turf with inlaid markings.
"There's some melancholy, looking at the Dome coming down, " she says, "although everyone is so excited about the new stadium that we're building that everybody seems to be looking forward."
The last game in the Dome is likely to be played in January, and demolition of the Metrodome is expected to start about six weeks later.
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