As important as training camp is to the organization, living in dorm rooms and riding bikes to and from practice, meals and team meetings isn't exactly business as usual. But, after tonight, the Vikings won't have much of an excuse to go against home cooking.
In an NFL rarity, thanks in part to questions about the availability of the Metrodome when the 2011 schedule was drawn up, when the Vikings return from Seattle in the early hours of Sunday morning, they will spend almost the entire next month-and-a-half at home working at Winter Park.
The Vikings have their final two preseason games at home, as well as two of their first three games of the regular season. As a result, the players will leave Minnesota for just two days (Sept. 10-11 on a season-opening road trip to San Diego) over the next month and a half.
From Aug. 22 to Sept. 30, a span of 40 days and 40 nights, the Vikings will spend all but two of those days in Minnesota. With the team trying to assimilate a new offense, nothing helps that process more than a regimented schedule. In many ways, NFL players are like military personnel. They have tight schedules to keep and disruptions to those schedules can impede that progress. Teams complain about prime time games that mess with their typical work week (and despise the idea of going to London for one of the annual across-the-world road trips). That will be a worry the Vikings won't have throughout the next six weeks.
As the new teams works to get its own rhythm as a group, especially on offense where there are significant changes to personnel, having home cooking for such an extended period early on in the process could turn out to be an invaluable tool in getting the timing and precision down of the new Bill Musgrave offense.
"The base offense, we pretty much got all that at camp," receiver Percy Harvin said. "So now it's just kind of tweaking it, doing different things with it. The base offense, as far as run, pass, we've pretty much got that in."
There's no place like home and, after tonight's game, the Vikings will find that home is where they'll be for almost all of the next six weeks.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here. Tarvaris Jackson