The Minnesota Vikings are building a new training camp tradition this year. After 52 years of using Mankato as the franchise’s preseason home, the team and its fans are now flocking to Eagan.
When it comes to NFL playgrounds, it doesn’t get much nicer than the new Vikings home in Eagan.
“This is really nice. The facilities, I think, are really fantastic with the outdoor stadium, the indoor practice facility. Really nice,” Alan Johnson said.
Johnson drove up from New Mexico to hang out with family at the camp. The Slayton-native and his nephew Kaiden are impressed with the new digs but they still miss the intimate setting in Mankato. There, they say you could get up close and personal with players every day.
“Mankato, you can see them walk out the door closer to like 20 feet compared to here like you’re 200 or so. You’re a little bit farther away when you’re here but they have way nicer facilities here for the players to practice at,” Kaiden said.
Longsnapper Kevin McDermott, who has ties to South Dakota, says not having to travel for camp makes a big difference. From using his regular locker to extensive rehab tools, he likes the new spot.
“Mankato has a special place in Vikings history. I enjoyed being down there in the years that we were there,” McDermott said.
Now it’s time to move forward. Alan is hoping the center rings in a new era of Vikings football.
“Been a diehard Vikings fan for 54 years. We’ll continue on. We’ll get a championship,” Johnson said.
Training camp ends Aug. 16. The Vikings first preseason game is set for Aug. 11 at the Denver Broncos.