While the Vikings play at Mall of America Field, their fans will gather there this year as well. The Vikings announced Tuesday that the annual team draft party will be moved from Winter Park to the Mall of America.
The event will get underway at 4 p.m. April 26 and continue until the end of the first round of the draft. While the Vikings are scheduled to be on the clock for their first-round pick presumably within a couple of minutes of the draft – Indianapolis will likely have Andrew Luck signed by the April 26 start of draft weekend and the Redskins will have Robert Griffin III all but locked up as their pick when the draft gets underway – there is a chance the Vikings might get bold and try to move up into the end of the first round in the event that a player they covet drops.
History has told us that fans and the draft party have created plenty of memories. There was the giddiness of the Adrian Peterson selection in 2007. There was the elderly woman showing Mike Tice she thought he was No. 1 (just not with the finger typically associated with the "We're No. 1" chant). There was the vociferous booing of Tice when he drafted Kevin Williams after Vikings play-by-play announcer Paul Allen had the crowd chanting, "Suggs! Suggs! Suggs!" with the expectation that the Vikings would draft talented DE Terrell Suggs. There was the year the clock ran out and two teams jumped in front of the Vikings. There was the stunned silence – with a few scattered screams of "Boo!" and "Who?" when the Vikings replaced Randy Moss with Troy Williamson. There was Jared Allen showing up with a cowboy hat partially covering his mullet promising to get 320-pound Pat Williams into a pair of tight-fitting jeans.
The moments are ones that the tens of thousands of fans that have attended draft parties have enjoyed over the years, but, this time around, the revelry will take place in Minneapolis at the site of Vikings games.
The Vikings radio broadcast team of Allen and Notre Dame's favorite son, Pete Bercich, will be on hand to emcee the event. The festivities will include interactive games, food and beverage concessions and several current and former Vikings signing autographs to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund.
General admission tickets are $10 (free to season ticket holders) and seating in the V.I.P. section is $75. Children 5 and under are given free admittance to the general admission section. For those looking for advance tickets, they are available at the team's website.
As things currently stand, fans will be encouraged to show up early, since they sit at No. 3 in the draft pecking order and the first two picks have been locked and loaded for the last month. Vikings fans have had a ton of memories associated with the draft and 2012 will add to that scrapbook of favorite moments. But this time, it will happen at a different venue.
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.