Minnesota Vikings training camp has been held in Mankato for almost as long as the team has existed, but that enduring relationship may soon come to an end.
The Vikings’ contract to hold training camp on the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato ends in 2018, the same year the team plans to open their new state-of-the-art headquarters in Eagan.
Nothing yet has been made official but it certainly seems the opening of the new facility will spell an to the team’s fifty-plus-year relationship with Mankato.
Mankato residents seem resigned to the notion that the Vikes plan to move training camp out of their area.
WCCO spoke to some Mankato folks and the mood in that community is not hopeful when it comes to the Vikings. The owner of Mankato restaurant Jake’s Pizza summed up how most people seem to be feeling:
"“We became very well known for being a Viking hangout, all the guys used to come here back to Fran Tarkenton and Allen Page,” Wally Boyer said.Boyer thinks his 20 percent boost in business each summer will come to an end once the Eagan facility is built.“You don’t build a facility like that and not use it to its full potential. It’s going to be a big bust for us when they leave,” Boyer said."
One estimate says the Mankato economy gets a boost of up to $6 million each year thanks to Viking fans coming in to enjoy camp. Obviously that’s a huge deal for the folks who own businesses there.
From an outside perspective, it doesn’t really matter where the Vikings hold training camp. Do I care if camp is in Mankato or Eagan? Not really.
Sentimentalists will probably be sad to see the team leave Mankato behind but from a practical point-of-view, it’s not that big a deal.
Whether the Vikes hold camp in Mankato or Eagan or wherever, the important thing is that they do their work and get themselves ready for the season. For that, all you need is a field and some footballs and tackling dummies.
Mankato training camp has been an important part of Vikings lore and those stories will always live on. But if the Vikes think it’s in the team’s best interest to hold camp at their new HQ instead of Mankato, then that’s what they should do.