Vikings' plane slides into grass after safe landing in Wisconsin

ByBen Goessling via ESPN logo
Saturday, December 24, 2016

APPLETON, Wis. -- Given how tumultuous the Minnesota Vikings' 2016 season has been, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that their final regular-season road trip came with another twist.

The Vikings' plane skidded off the taxiway on a snowy night at Appleton International Airport and slid into the grass while taxiing after landing.

Everyone on the plane was fine. But players, coaches and team officials were stuck for several hours before fire officials at the scene used a truck's extension ladder to help the team off the aircraft. The flight usually lasts an hour.

"This is very atypical," Appleton International Airport director Abe Webber said.

The airport did not have portable stairs and boarding bridges could not be used because the plane was 200 yards or so from the terminal, Webber said. Passengers left the aircraft two at a time.

"We wanted to make sure the players were as safe as possible in deplaning," Webber said.

A Vikings source told ESPN's Josina Anderson that the plane landed relatively fine but skidded while taxiing.

"We didn't even slide 10 feet," the source told Anderson.

Airport officials posted on Twitter that the first buses left for the team hotel in Appleton around 10:15 p.m CT. The buses arrived at the hotel in downtown Appleton about 15 minutes later, less than 14 hours before kickoff at Lambeau Field.

About 20 fans, some wearing purple Vikings jerseys, waited for the first buses to pull up to the hotel while light snow fell. A few Green Bay fans also chanted "Go Pack Go" before buses arrived.

By midnight, the Vikings were through with the ordeal.

Describing the scene on his Snapchat account, safety Anthony Harris said one of the plane's tires sank into the grass after the plane slid off the runway. As airport workers tried to dislodge the plane from the grass, the Vikings were forced to wait patiently aboard the plane.

Other players also took to social media to document their exit from the plane. Defensive end Brian Robison posted a video on Instagram:

Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson took to Twitter to show that while being stuck on the plane was not ideal, it wasn't the most embarrassing thing to happen to him on the flight:

The Vikings (7-7) will face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Saturday in hopes of keeping their slim playoff hopes alive after a 5-0 start was followed by a 2-7 stretch.

Running back Adrian Peterson, who came back from a knee injury on Sunday against the Colts, won't play against the Packers.

Peterson initially tore the meniscus in his right knee on Sept. 18 at U.S. Bank Stadium in the first Vikings-Packers matchup this season. His injury came less than three weeks after quarterback Teddy Bridgewater tore his ACL and dislocated his left knee in the Vikings' final preseason practice.

This season has taken the Vikings through more than a few twists and turns.

They have used seven different offensive line combinations in front of new quarterback Sam Bradford, seen offensive coordinator Norv Turner resign, and watched coach Mike Zimmer miss the first game of his 23-year NFL coaching career after emergency eye surgery for a detached retina.

Zimmer, who has had four operations on his right eye, on Saturdaywill coach his third game since the surgery, and will need another operation after the season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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