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Packers defeat Colts at gun

INDIANAPOLIS -- Graham Harrell led Green Bay to 11 points in the final 35 seconds, rallying the defending Super Bowl champs to a 24-21 victory over Indianapolis on Friday night.

Harrell threw an 11-yard TD pass to Ryan Taylor with 35 seconds left, then hooked up with Taylor again on the 2-point conversion to make it 21-21. After the Packers recovered an onside kick, Harrell set up Mason Crosby for a 50-yard field goal as time expired.

Colts backup Curtis Painter also played well, going 11 of 21 for 171 yards.

Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers was in midseason form, going 19 of 23 for 204 yards with one TD to give Green Bay a 10-0 second-quarter lead.


Bradford is sharp

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sam Bradford led the St. Louis Rams to a pair of touchdowns, and their defense made life miserable for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel in a 14-10 preseason victory.

Bradford was 8 of 8 for 76 yards on his first two series, with scoring passes of 6 yards to Mike Sims-Walker and 11 yards to rookie tight end Lance Kendricks. Bradford finished with 95 yards passing in his most significant dress rehearsal before the Rams' opener against Philadelphia.


No place like dome

MINNEAPOLIS -- More than eight months have passed since that swirling snowstorm punctured the Metrodome's roof, rendering the stadium unusable and sending the Minnesota Vikings scurrying for other places to play at the end of that dismally dramatic season.

They return to their familiar Teflon-covered home field this weekend. It's all spruced up, complete with a new ceiling and new turf.

"It feels really open and bright. You're not quite as enclosed in anymore," said punter Chris Kluwe, who got a sneak preview earlier this week when the specialists visited to practice their kicks. He quipped: "Hopefully the roof won't collapse this year. We're hoping to keep that to winter if it does happen."

Then turning serious, Kluwe said: "It should be fun. I think the fans will be excited."

The Vikings host the Dallas Cowboys tonight in a preseason game, the first sporting event since last December to be held at the well-known, often-disparaged 29-year-old venue now known as Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The Twins left after the 2009 season to play outside at Target Field across town, but there are hundreds of college and high school baseball games held at the Metrodome each spring before the snow melts, plus the state high school soccer tournament in the fall and a number of other events guaranteed a weather-proof experience and the novelty of a professional stadium.

The entire roof had to be replaced, though, leaving the building empty for most of the year except for the construction workers there for the replacement project.

"Everybody was walking around, looking at their shoes," said Bill Lester, the executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the public agency that operates the Metrodome. "Everybody who works for us entered the industry because of the desire to work in events, being around people celebrating and having fun."

Lester ushered a visitor around the stadium on Friday while ironworkers put the finishing touches on the roof and the field crew finished the paint job. The project cost about $23 million, including $18 million for the roof. It was covered by insurance with a $25,000 deductible.

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