Exhibit honors Vikings history with Mankato

An exhibit honoring the connection between the Vikings and their training camp home opened Saturday.

The Vikings and their fans will be descending on Mankato this weekend and there will be an attraction many of them are likely going to take advantage of other than the Mankato nightlife.

Marking the 50th anniversary of Vikings training camp taking place in Mankato, the Blue Earth County Historical Society is hosting an exhibit honoring the historic connection between the Vikings and the City of Mankato.

On Saturday, the museum, which is located on 606 S. Broad St. in Mankato, hosted its kickoff event for the exhibit, which will run through Sept. 4.

The exhibit includes photos and memorabilia representing each of the decades the Vikings have been conducting their preseason workouts in the southern Minnesota city, which covered all of the six decades the Vikings have called Mankato their training camp home.

From the rag-tag bunch that first showed up with Norm Van Brocklin in the mid-60s to the dominant teams of the 1970s to the transition to leaving the flamethrowers of Metropolitan Stadium in the rearview mirror to being an indoor team in the ’80s to making Super Bowl runs in the ’90s and the 2000s to the promise of the next 50 years.

For a franchise that has seen the highs and lows of their history – from the arrivals of Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson to the loss of Korey Stringer – Mankato has a significant piece of NFL history. For those who intend to impart a little franchise wisdom on the next generation of Vikings fans, expect to see more traffic than usual in the 700 block of Broad Street over the next few weeks. Spoiler alert for food trucks! You may find yourself a busier-than-normal location.

At a time when NFL teams are increasingly going away from the travel-to-college-campus style of training camp, Mankato is celebrating its history with the Vikings for a good reason. A lot of Vikings fans have a dog-days-of-summer relationship with Mankato. As that relationship hits its golden anniversary mark, Mankato is giving a history lesson as to where they’ve been and where they are.

Typically, a museum is a hard-sell for many. This time? It’s a piece of history being preserved and one that generations can enjoy. Whether your Vikings are represented by Fran Tarkenton, Jim Marshall, Joey Browner, Scott Studwell, Randy Moss or Adrian Peterson, there will be something that resonates with Vikings fans new or old.

Learning isn’t a selling point on a family vacation, but history can be fun – especially if it’s Vikings history.

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