Despite the lush green looking grass that we all saw on T.V. for last week's Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions game, the Vikings are still preparing for the potential need for an equipment adjustment Sunday night in Chicago.
Still hoping for the best, Vikings equipment manager Dennis Ryan has learned from past experiences that they'll need to be prepared with different footwear and he encouraged players to be prepared as well.
A note hanging from the lockers of all Vikings players at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center encouraged players to begin breaking in their seven-studded cleats this week in case they were to need them on the fly.
With so much attention being paid to field conditions on the heals of the NFL moving Monday Night's game away from Mexico City due to poor turf conditions, it's not as much the bad quality of turf as it is the new turf that has been installed that will be the problem. As teams swap out old turf with new sod throughout the season to keep up with wear and tear, the new sod comes in soft and squishy. The normal molded cleats worn by players grips the turf surface and tends to slip on the newly installed soft grass.
Thus the encouragement to have your seven-stud cleats ready to go.
Normally set to go with molded cleats in which anywhere from 10 or more molded cleat spikes are one piece built into the cleat with the sole of the shoe, players are prepared to swap out for the adjustable seven-stud model depending on grip and mobility issues.
The seven-stud cleats have the ability to swap out each stud for a longer cleat. In the case of poor conditions, players will upgrade to a 5/8 inch seven-stud alignment to grab deeper into the soft turf allowing for a firmer plant and easier turning abilities.
Ideally, players will have a decision locked and loaded after pregame warmups but changing conditions for a night game as the temperature drops and precipitation of all kinds comes in to play has them at the ready to swap out if needed.