Vikings Move Into Upgraded Winter Park

Players went through their first practice on new fields Monday and got more comfortable with their new locker room as part of a major renovation project at Winter Park.

The transformation of the Vikings didn't just extend to the coaching staff and roster earlier this year. Over the last few months, the franchise has poured in excess of $2 million into their practice and office facilities at their Winter Park complex.

The renovation addressed several key areas of need – and neglect – over the last few years.

Most of the issues had to do with a lack of space for an ever-growing organization and league.

With a coaching staff that increased by four bodies since the end of last season, office space wasn't just at a premium, the Vikings needed to remodel on that basis alone.

They moved the media room across the street to their sales and marketing building and converted the old media room – which used to be a racquetball court – into two levels of coaching and public relations offices.

Once the organized team activities were completed in June and the players weren't in need of the locker room for nearly two months – with training camp held in Mankato – the renovation of their locker room began. Not only did the space of the locker room nearly double by adding 1,400 square feet, the players got plush new purple carpet and new, wider wooden lockers.

During the season, players used to be cramped tightly together, with barely enough room for a stool outside each locker. With the wide girth of today's players, an upgrade was needed. Considering their offseason roster is currently at 85 players, the old setup led to a human traffic jam in the locker room.

Now the Vikings, with double the space, have wide lockers and 86 of them, including several removable units in the middle of the room.

The old equipment room was engulfed by the larger locker room, so the Vikings expanded outward toward the practice fields and gained more room there, giving them an addition 1,000 square feet in the equipment room, enough space for another washer and drier (bringing that number to three apiece) for uniforms.

With a bigger locker room, the old players lounge was turned into a room that is used for rehabilitation exercises for players, lessening the need for them to rehab at a nearby clinic.

Above the locker room and equipment room, just off the upper-level offices for their front-office staff, they added a terrace for hosting guests and any outdoor meetings the club might want.


Down the hall from the locker room and the weight room, and into the meeting-room portion of the lower level, the team also improved the technology. The meeting rooms used by different units on offense, defense and special teams were turned into more of a classroom style area with LCD screens and an XOS video system that allows players and coaches to access video cutups of practices only five minutes after the sessions end.

Coaches can also access those video packages from their offices upstairs.


The green cash poured into the upgraded facilities also extended to the green grass outside.

The Vikings added a chain-link fence with a black privacy tarp surrounding their practice fields.

Outside, they also replaced one of their two practice fields with new seed and reworked the drainage system. That also included the hiring and oversight of renowned turf consultant George Toma, who has been mowing (many times with a push mower) the fields all spring and summer.

The improvements also helped the team gain much-needed parking spaces, even if it meant a net gain of only four or five spots.

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