Final Vikings Training Camp In Mankato; Team Moving To Eagan Next Year
MANKATO, Minn – Football season is right around the corner, which means NFL Training Camps are underway.
This year, the Minnesota Vikings are saying goodbye to their preseason home of more than 50 years. The entire Minnesota Vikings squad is in Mankato beginning preparation for the 2017 season and the final training camp in Mankato.
For 52 years it’s been a tradition for fans from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and beyond to come to Mankato. That changes next year when the team will move it’s camp to their new multi-million dollar facility in Eagan, becoming the 22nd NFL team to move their training camp to their own facility.
It’s bittersweet for the players who are looking forward to the new place but have had nothing but good experiences in Mankato.
“I do want to say thank you to the school and the community for hosting us, I’ve had a lot of good memories here and a lot of hard work. Things I’ll never forget, its definitely bittersweet, it’s our last one, so we’re taking advantage of it,” said Harrison Smith, Vikings DB.
We also ran into several fans who came in from Sioux Falls and Mitchell who said that it’s going to get a lot more difficult to make the trip once it goes to the cities next year.
“It’s definitely bittersweet, especially because we kind of grew up knowing every summer we might get the chance to come up to Mankato for training camp and to see our favorite team play, and I know its going to hard to see them in the summer,” said Kyle Biggerstaff from Mitchell.
“As we were walking out today we were talking about how next year how it’ll probably be much more commercialized and much more about making money for their organization, and not so much about the fans,” said Ryan Kolbeck of Sioux Falls.
As for the team itself they’re hoping to take advantage of the addition of Parkston native Riley Reiff on the offensive line. Much of Minnesota’s season fell apart because of bad line play last year, and the former Iowa Hawkeye is going to be counted on to shore that up.
The Vikings open the preseason August 10th at Buffalo, and the regular season September 11th at home against Adrian Peterson and New Orleans.