The Minnesota Vikings have their current focus on training camp in Mankato, but there is a lot of attention building up closer to home, as the team announced that it will conduct the official groundbreaking ceremony at its new practice facility in Eagan and, as Ron Burgundy would say, it’s kind of big deal.
The ceremony will take place at the 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at what has been known as the former Northwest Airlines site in Eagan. It would appear that the ceremony will be more than just a simple groundbreaking for a standard building. Among those that will be in attendance as part of the ceremony is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
It has long been understood that the new Vikings headquarters will be much more interactive and multi-use than their current headquarters at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, which, by NFL standards of the modern era, has long since been antiquated and too small for a team facility.
The Vikings will be well-represented at the ceremony, including owner Zygi Wilf, team President Mark Wilf, General Manager Rick Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren and Chief Financial Officer Steve Poppen.
Local officials that will be taking part in the ceremony are Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire, the Chief Operating Officer Al Gerhardt of Kraus-Anderson, the architectural firm awarded the project, and David Murphy of Crawford Architects, which will be designing the plans for the multi-phase project.
The fact that Goodell will be in attendance is significant in that it will be an opportunity for the Wilfs to show Goodell U.S. Bank Stadium as well as the plans for the expansive practice facility. Given that events like the draft and other league-sponsored events are being put out for competition, showing the commissioner that Minnesota has state-of-the-art facilities that can be the envy of the rest of the league could lead to hosting other NFL events (U.S. Bank Stadium is already hosting the 2018 Super Bowl).
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The current timeline is to have the facility ready by the summer of 2018, which could potentially be early enough to move training camp from Mankato to the team facility.
All of the current focus, as it has been for the last 51 summers, is on Mankato. But, on Tuesday, the process of bringing the Vikings facilities into the 21st century will begin in earnest as the organization looks to have a home as impressive as its new Sunday workplace at U.S. Bank Stadium.
- There have been rumors that the Vikings have expressed a mild interest in recently released Rams quarterback Nick Foles, some going as far as saying Foles was told he might have the chance to compete with Teddy Bridgewater for the starting job. Don’t believe it. The Vikings have invested too much of their future in Bridgewater to potentially complicate the situation by bringing in a player who has been a starter in his first two stops in the NFL. The Vikings may be interested if Foles is in competition with Shaun Hill and being paid purely backup-QB money to enforce that point. Otherwise, don’t automatically equate the Taylor Heinicke injury with the pending arrival of Foles in Mankato.
- A pair of NFC North stars opened training camp on the shelf. Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson is on the PUP list with a knee injury (the other knee than the one injured last season) and Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy is on the non-football injury list, which is rumored to be because of lingering effects of the hip injury that sidelined him last year.