Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Vikings in Mankato through '15. Then what?
By Kevin Seifert
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings announced an agreement to continue staging training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato, through 2015. The arrangement will give the team a 50-year history in Mankato when it expires, but it also raises a fair question: What will happen then?
At the moment, the Vikings don't have the option to relocate camp to their permanent practice facility, as many NFL teams have done in recent years. Winter Park has only two practice fields, and its locker room and meeting areas would be squeezed with a 90-man camp roster.
That landscape could look different in three years, however. The team recently purchased an adjacent office building in Eden Prairie, Minn. One idea floating through upper levels of the organization is to expand the practice area to the new land and then add additional meeting/office space to the existing facility.
Such a project would give the Vikings the room to hold training camp there if they choose. Owner Zygi Wilf has been a staunch ally of off-site training camps, but NFL thought continues to shift away from that approach. A recent tally by the Buffalo News revealed that only about one-third of the NFL's teams (12 of 32) now train away from their permanent facilities. Stay tuned.