First Practices Will Be Open

The Vikings have clarified their training camp procedures for the first four practices -- saying that the first four practice sessions will indeed be open to the public. However, the supporting amenities will not be available until Aug. 1.

When the Vikings announced the training camp schedule earlier this week, it appeared that the first four practices with rookies and select veterans would be closed off to the public. There was a loud groan from the fans and media alike.

The reaction from most fans and media outlets was simple -- why? Was there something that the Vikings were going to implement with rookies and selected veterans that was so hush-hush that the public couldn't see it? As it turns out, there wasn't.

The Vikings clarified their policy, saying those first practices will be open but things like the Viking Village and other amenities will not be available until the "official" opening of camp on Aug. 1, when veterans report and the players have the first full-team practice.

When the initial announcement came, it was met with some scorn from hard-core Vikings fans. The closed practices not only coincided with the start of training camp, but also with a scheduled block party July 29 in Mankato. The general feeling was that if the Vikings wanted fans to make the pilgrimage down to Mankato to attend the block party, being shunned from the practices those days was akin to a slap in the face. The Vikings got blasted by several media outlets for the perception that those first practices would be closed. However, the clarification on those first practices being open put an end to the fan frustration.

It marked the second time in two years that the Vikings have had a training camp policy criticized. Last year, the Vikings announced that they would be charging admission for practices. That policy was quickly reversed when it was determined that scouts from other teams could sit through all of the practices in which they were charged an admission and there would be nothing the Vikings could do to stop them. That policy was quickly nixed and practices remained free -- along with the right to boot out any scouts from other clubs during practice drills.

So, as fans make the trip down to Mankato for the start of training camp, they will do so knowing that they can watch the practices from the stands along the practice field.

FRIDAY NOTES
* The Vikings added Todd Nielson to the coaching staff as a staff assistant. That brings the number of coaches currently under contract up to 22.
* The Vikings had no interest in signing linebacker Ahmad Brooks of Virginia during yesterday's supplemental draft. Rick Spielman, the Vikings new vice president of player personnel, cited character issues as the primary reason for their lack of interest in Brooks, who was thrown off the Cavaliers team by coach Al Groh. Brooks was taken by the Bengals on the third round, meaning Cincy will forfeit a third-round pick in next April's rookie draft.

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