D’Anthony Batiste heard throughout his career how loud the Metrodome can get, but the offensive lineman had never experienced it.
During the Cardinals’ visit to Minnesota last season, Batiste quickly found out when he was called on to replace an injured
“You have to be able to tune everything out, tune the crowd noise out, tune everything out other than the snap count,” Batiste said. “If you can do that, then you can pretty much control everything else in the game.”
The Cardinals, who haven’t won in Minnesota since 1977 and have never beat the Vikings in the Metrodome, have been using giant speakers to pump in noise during practices all season.
The Cards use speakers for noise every week, except the volume might be turned up a notch or two this time around.
“We’re going to work and try to simulate it as much as we can in practice,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
Batiste said the artificial noise has been helping. When good old fashion yelling doesn’t get the play across, the offensive line, the area of any team most susceptible to noise, has been using head nods to communicate.
“You’ve got to shake your head just to get that extra confirmation that we’re all going the same direction,” he said.
The loudest the Metrodome has been recorded was during the 1987 and 1991 World Series, when the decibel level was comparable to a jet engine.
As a Vikings’ ballboy when in high school, Fitzgerald was on the sidelines when the Vikings were among the NFL’s best teams from 1998-2001. He watched as visiting teams struggled with snap counts and illegal procedure penalties when the NFL still allowed noise to be piped into stadiums.
“You just can’t hear yourself think,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s truly a home-field advantage. But it’s hard to get into a game as a fan if the other team is playing well so we want to go out there and start fast and get some points on the board early.”
THE FRIENDSHIP OF FITZ AND AP
Fitzgerald first met Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in 2004 in Columbus, Ohio. Fitzgerald was crisscrossing the country on the college football awards circuit and Peterson was being honored as the national high school player of the year.
They became fast friends and remain close heading into Sunday’s Cardinals-Vikings game in Minnesota.
“He’s my little brother,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s my boy.”
The two talk often, their families are close and Fitzgerald occasionally sees Peterson when he returns home to Minnesota. They went to the Minnesota State Fair together during Labor Day weekend and Fitzgerald saw first-hand how popular Peterson has become around the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
“I got away from him,” Fitzgerald said with a smile. “It was crazy. He has to have security. His nickname in Minnesota is Purple Jesus. That should tell you everything you need to know.”
DOCKETT, SCHOFIELD ARE UPGRADED
They were the only two changes to Thursday’s injury report.
For the Vikings, Peterson missed practice for the second straight day with a sprained ankle and defensive end Jared Allen didn’t practice after being limited Wednesday.