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Local residents part of Minnesota Vikings’ history

by Marlys Kruger

In what turned out to be the coldest game in Minnesota Vikings history, Colfax residents Nora Braaten and John Sauerwein thought twice – but just for a few seconds – about attending the Minnesota game against Seattle January 10 at TCF Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.

John’s brother Bob, who lives near the Twin Cities called the couple to tell them he had tickets for the game which was the first playoff game for the Vikings since 2009. John is originally from Minnesota but graduated from Colfax High School and has been a Vikings fan since birth. Nora became a Vikings fan after she began dating John back in their high school days.

“We go to maybe one game a year,” Nora said. “And when we had the chance to go to a playoff game, we wanted to take advantage of it. We all know you don’t know how often this chance comes up with this team. After we heard how cold it was going to be, we wondered if we were crazy for going but we invested in some warm clothes and headed on out.”

With temperatures around six below and a wind chill of  minus 25, it was the third coldest NFL game in history. (I think you all know who was involved in the coldest game). Nora and John were sitting in the upper level and felt the cold wind on them throughout the game.

“It was cold but not unbearable for the most part,” Nora said. “Before the game, there were plenty of tailgaters but they had a warming house by an ice skating rink open for them to go in. And during halftime of the game, everyone tried to get into the bathrooms because they were heated. I bought a soda and it froze within two minutes and I couldn’t drink it so needless to say we didn’t waste anymore money on beverages,” she said with a laugh.

As far as the game went, it didn’t seem quite so cold when Minnesota was winning 9-0. But when Seattle began their comeback, it got pretty intense in the stadium.

“When we thought we had a chance to win, the fans were jumpimg around and were pretty excited,” Nora said. “We were beginning to think it was worth sitting out in the cold to cheer for our team. But when we missed the field goal that could have won the game, the air just went out of everybody. But it was great to say we not only were there for the coldest game in their history, it was their final game at TCF Stadium. So it was well worth it to be there,” she added.

Nora and John won’t have to worry about sitting in the cold next year after the Vikings move into their new enclosed stadium. And although diehard Packer fans will still be sitting outdoors in the cold winter months, they will be home the rest of this year watching the playoffs after losing in overtime to Arizona this past weekend. Larry Fitzgerald, who happens to be a native of Minnesota, scored the winning touchdown for Arizona.