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Metrodome's artificial turf might need to be replaced

As frustrating as the Vikings' season was in 2010, it might be the Metrodome's artificial turf that took the biggest beating.

Following months of exposure to harsh Minnesota elements and the grind of weighty equipment attempting to fix the structure's punctured roof, the playing surface might have to be replaced, Dome officials said Friday, according to *The Star Tribune*.

"We believe the turf will be fine," said commission chair Ted Mondale. "However, with the amount of rain that's come in and with the boards on top of it, there may be parts of the turf or all of it that needs to be replaced."

Preliminary tests suggest the turf, which was installed last summer, can be restored in time for the season. If the surface doesn't meet standards, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has authorized a bidding process that would pave the way for new turf, costing up to $800,000, to be installed.

The repairs to the Metrodome roof, which was significantly damaged by a storm in December, should be completed by the Aug. 1 target date, The Star Tribune reported last month.

One of the first scheduled events is an Aug. 20 open house to celebrate the fiberglass roof, which is being installed by a 50-person crew.

The first Vikings preseason home game, depending on the lockout, is scheduled for Aug. 27 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Replacing the roof is estimated to cost $18 million. Dome officials say all but a $25,000 deductible will be covered by insurance.

The commission opted to replace the roof after engineers said they worried simply repairing torn panels wouldn't be enough to prevent another collapse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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