After 52 Years, Vikings Are Leaving Mankato
The Minnesota Vikings have called Mankato home for 52 Training Camps, and 2017 will be it's last.
The Vikings announced today that the team will move Training Camp to their new facility in Eagan for the 2018 season. Now, for me, this hits pretty close to home. I graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and having the Vikings in town was always special. You could see the players out and about, go to the practices and have a chance to have that interaction with the players.
52 years is a long time, and many families made many memories in Mankato. I remember going there as a kid, watching some of my favorite players practice in terrible July heat. It was awesome.
As I grew older, I was lucky enough to cover the Vikings' 50th season in Mankato for our school's newspaper. I was able to talk to players such as Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and Harrison Smith. It was a special season for the Vikings.
Not only was it the Training Camp before their latest NFC North Title, but it was also the 50th year the team has used Minnesota State University, Mankato's campus as a tool to prepare for yet another season of NFL action.
I know many people from southeast Minnesota would take the drive over to Mankato where they would indulge themselves in football. It was silly. It was just practice. No hitting, no tackling, so secrets revealed, but it was football. Something fans were waiting for since the Super Bowl ended in early February. Whether it was the entire family, a grandfather, father and son, it was still special.
It is no doubt, an end of an era.
The team does intend to keep Training Camp open to fans for the 2018 season, but it will never be Mankato.