MIAMI // The Minnesota Vikings know the can expect to be deafened in New Orleans' Superdome on Sunday - and they are preparing accordingly. Returning to practice on Wednesday, the Vikings players trained with ear plugs and in front of speakers blasting out a simulation of the noise the 72,000 New Orleans Saints fans will be making in the NFC Championship game. The decibel-level inside the roofed Superdome is so high that instructions from coach to quarterback and between the quarterback and his line are almost impossible to make in the usual way.
"We've practised with noise piped in here," said the Vikings' head coach, Brad Childress. "I'm not sure if I, or our players, have to sign a waiver in terms of any future hearing loss. You kind of ramp up to it, and do the communicating part. "Communication, that's the significant part of the challenge. None of those 72,000 people will come on the field and have anything to do with the win or the loss. It will be the people in between the lines."
The Vikings' quarterback, Brett Favre, has no doubt that the atmosphere will be a big factor in the game. "These games, they're tough anyway, but they're really tough on the road, because of the noise. Not only are you playing the Saints, but you're playing the fans, and all of those things work against you," said Favre. "I'll emphasise that during the week. We'll practice as much like a game as possible with those elements, but there's no substitute for the game itself."
The Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson said the Superdome has the loudest noise level of any stadium he has played in. "It's going to be very crucial for us to be sound with our protections and communicating out there," he said. * Reuters