Vik­ings to hold fi­nal Mankato train­ing camp af­ter 52 years

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

From Alan Page to Jared Allen, Fran Tarken­ton to Teddy Bridge­wa­ter, Chuck Fore­man to Adrian Peter­son, the Min­nesota Vik­ings spent 52 years mak­ing a 90-minute drive from the Twin Cities to Mankato for train­ing camp.

The Vik­ings’ proud his­tory of hold­ing camp on the cam­pus of Min­nesota State Uni­ver­sity, Mankato is en­ter­ing its fi­nal days. The team an­nounced Tues­day that this camp will be its last in the col­lege town 90 miles south­west of Min­neapo­lis.

The Vik­ings will open their new, sprawl­ing prac­tice fa­cil­ity in the Twin Cities sub­urb of Ea­gan in March and will hold train­ing camp there go­ing for­ward. “Over the past 52 years we have formed in­cred­i­ble re­la­tion­ships with Min­nesota State Uni­ver­sity, Mankato, the City of Mankato, and the en­tire com­mu­nity, and those part­ner­ships made this de­ci­sion dif­fi­cult,” Vik­ings ex­ec­u­tive Kevin War­ren said. “With our in­creased space and ameni­ties, the Twin Cities Ortho­pe­dics Per­for­mance Cen­ter will give our play­ers, coaches and staff the best op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed, and we feel host­ing train­ing camp at our new home is the proper move for the or­ga­ni­za­tion and Vik­ings fans.”

Stay­ing closer to home for train­ing camp is a trend that has spread through­out the league in re­cent years. The Vik­ings are one of 12 teams to leave head­quar­ters for camp this sum­mer. That does not in­clude the Green Bay Pack­ers, who prac­tice on their own fields in Green Bay but stay in the dorms at nearby St. Nor­bert Col­lege, as they have for 60 years.

Through the years, the Vik­ings would take over Mankato at the end of ev­ery sum­mer and play­ers would bunk in the dorm rooms. Quar­ter­back Dante Culpep­per and re­ceiver Randy Moss drove flashy sports cars into town as thou­sands of fans swarmed them in the park­ing lot. Former coach Mike Tice held court at a bar and restau­rant just across the street from the prac­tice fields, and WWE star Brock Les­nar, who was try­ing out with the Vik­ings in 2004, rum­bled with the Kansas City Chiefs dur­ing a joint prac­tice.

Po­lice used to set up shop on High­way 169 on the eve of camp to catch Vik­ings play­ers speed­ing through the sleepy town of St. Pe­ter to try and make the check-in time, in­clud­ing re­ceiver Koren Robin­son be­ing clocked at 120 mph in 2006.

The dark­est day in the team’s long his­tory in Mankato hap­pened on Aug. 1, 2001, when of­fen­sive tackle Korey Stringer died af­ter a col­laps­ing dur­ing prac­tice a day ear­lier on a par­tic­u­larly swel­ter­ing af­ter­noon.—AP

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