The Minnesota Vikings closed out their 51st consecutive training camp in Mankato, Minn., earlier this month. At the onset of camp, they also held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new training facility in the southern Twin Cities suburb of Eagan, not too far from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. While the current contract has the team returning to Mankato for two more seasons, we had the chance to ask fans what their thoughts would be if the Vikings move camp to Eagan in the future.
“I’ve been a Viking fan since I was 4, but this is the first time I’ve been to training camp. I do like camp here in Mankato even though I live up in the Twin Cities. It surely helps the economy down here. I’d follow them wherever they go but I don’t think there is anything wrong with keeping it here.”
– Tom Schultz, Bloomington, Minn.
“I live in the Twin Cities and going to camp up there wouldn’t be the event it is here in Mankato. We plan a full day or weekend to come here. Up in the Cities, it would be just like ‘Oh yeah, let’s just drive over’ and then we’d go home. It wouldn’t have nearly the atmosphere. It would be a different experience. I like it here.”
– Kirsten Olson, Burnsville, Minn.
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“I might be a little biased because it would be a closer drive to me, so I’m okay with it.”
– Aaron McGregor, St. Paul, Minn.
“I like camp in Mankato. Moving it would kind of be like playing in TCF Bank the past couple of years. It was fun to go to the games but it wasn’t quite the same. I’ve been coming to Mankato for years and I’d miss it. It would get lost a bit in the Cities. Here, it’s an event.”
– John Stenroos, Minneapolis, Minn.
“I’d be okay going to the Twin Cities. I’d think as a coach, you’d want to get the team away from their normal surroundings a little bit and focus on just football. Maybe they will be able to do that there, but I’d think you’d want them at least an hour away from their homes.”
– Chris Gillespie, Naperville, Ill.
“I’d prefer to keep things in Mankato because it’s closer to my home. It’s all about proximity to me.”
– Mike Johnson, Rock Valley, Iowa
“We come to training camp ever year. We don’t miss it. My kids are adamant about getting autographs, and whether they are here or in the Twin Cities we will follow the Vikings wherever they go.”
– Sue Owens, Maple Grove, Minn.
“I love coming to Mankato and it would be a bad deal to move this. If it was in Eagan, I don’t think you’d have the closeness with the fans and the players. Coming down here and getting autographs is a big deal to a lot of people and it makes us feel like we are a part of the team.”
– Gary Shimota, New Prague, Minn.
“I would much rather it stay here. Our best friends live here in Mankato so we get to see them. But either way, even in Eagan, I know they’d come up there and we’d meet them there. We are diehard Vikings fans and we’ll follow our team no matter what ’til the end.”
– David McDonald, St. Cloud, Minn.
“Most people like coming down here but I think it makes more sense to move camp to Eagan and build the facility to meet the team’s needs.”
– Florentino Smith, Columbia Heights, Minn.
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“As a fan who has been coming down here for many years, it’s a nice trip. I love the town and Mankato is a great city. But if it’s in the Twin Cities, it’s a lot closer for me and I could pretty much go every day. I’d like to see it move only because it would be closer.”
– Jamie Sanchez, St. Paul, Minn.
“I love coming to ‘Fan-kato.’ I’ve been up here probably 10 times in my lifetime and the last three years straight. It’s a fun atmosphere and having gone to school here in Mankato, it’s neat and a fun time for this town. Would I like to see it stay? Yes, but I understand that at times things get outdated and you have to move on and do something new.”
– Owen Miller, Byron, Minn.
“This was my first trip here to training camp in Mankato and I thought it was pretty awesome. I’d move with them if they move, but it’s been a big deal for Mankato for a lot of years so it would be a hard change for many people. I love it here.”
– Debbie Claypool, Minneapolis, Minn.
“I’m okay if camp moves, but I’d like to see it stay here because it’s been here so long. I’m from Duluth so I’d go no matter which city they choose, but for the people of Mankato that have invested in this so long, it would be nice for camp to stay here for them.”
– Sam Carlson, Duluth, Minn.
“I like camp in Mankato. Right now it’s a 45-minute drive and that’s better than a two-hour drive. I’d miss it if camp wasn’t here but I’d still go up one day a year.”
– Mark Riederer, Sleepy Eye, Minn.
“Moving would not be a good idea. To take this away from Mankato and all the business it brings would be wrong. Plus, it gives all Viking fans a reason to get out of the Twin Cities and come and experience the team. It brings the fans closer together than they would up there.”
– Jesse Miller, Arlington Heights, Ill.
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“Tradition says they should stay here, but with a new practice facility they will have the opportunity to design everything the way they want it. It’s good for the team and the fans will learn to love it.”
– Zach Waddell, Owatonna, Minn.
“They certainly could put it in the Twin Cities and it would be a lot closer for me so I’d love it. But I have to say that coming to Mankato for so many years and having all these memories with my kids, I’m not sure they could replicate that in Eagan.”
– Randy Wacker, Woodbury, Minn.
“I’d like the team to keep the tradition and stay in Mankato. It’s a great day trip to get out of the Twin Cities and they’ve always treated us well down here.”
– Terry Lemke, Minneapolis, Minn.