Vikings to Stay In Mankato (For Now)

Rumors of Red McCombs looking to move the Vikings training camp out of Mankato may have some grain of truth to them, but not for 2003.

There has been a lot of discussion that the Vikings were going to move their training camp out of Mankato, the team's training home for almost four decades.

If that is true, it won't happen this year. The Vikings announced Thursday that the team will return to Mankato for a 39th year as the city hosts training camp for the Vikings starting at the end of July.

This year is the final year of the current contract with the city and Minnesota State University, but, as of the current time, the Vikings haven't sought any requests for proposals from others to move the training camp to another site.

While the issue will be revisited later this year, the Vikings and their fans will again get a chance to meet and greet in the more informal setting of Mankato -- where some fans get their best opportunities to see the players up close and personal.

* In a sruvery of NFL players, the Metrodome finished fourth in the worst turf in the NFL. Once again, Veterans Stadium in Philly took first -- it has been deemed the worst in the league during each of the nine years of the survery. It was followed by Giants Stadium and Paul Brown Field in Cincinnati.
* Perhaps the most distressing part is that the Vikings hate the turf themselves. Of 39 players polled in the survey, 21 players (54 percent) rated the turf as poor. Even for those who hate their own turf, the league average was just 12 percent of players rating their own home field as poor.
* 2003 is the last season with the current turf in place. After that, there is talk of bringing in field turf, but, since the Vikings share the stadium with the Twins, both sides will have to agree on a playing surface.
* Daunte Culpepper may end up in the Pro Bowl. As of right now, the NFC really has no QB on the roster. Thursday the NFL announced that Michael Vick would not be making the trip to Honolulu and replaced him with Brad Johnson. Often times, players in the Super Bowl opt to skip the Pro Bowl and heal up, so there is no guarantee Johnson will be willing or able to play. The NFC still hasn't replaced Brett Favre, who also opted out of the game. With Aaron Brooks and Donovan McNabb also down with injuries, if Johnson doesn't play, it could well come down to Jeff Garcia, Culpepper or Marc Bulger of the Rams to fill out the QB roster.
* The Pro Bowl is losing some of its shine for the NFC. It will already be without offensive stars Favre, Vick, Randy Moss and Ahman Green.
* Denny Green has one less competitor for the 49ers head coaching job. Philly defensive coordinator Jim Johnson took himself out of consideration by signing a whopping four-year, $4 million deal to stay in that post with the Eagles.
* From the "Hello, Newman" Department comes this: The consensus on April's draft continues to center on Kansas State CB Terence Newman. A couple of weeks ago, VU tabbed Newman or Penn State DT Jimmy Kennedy as the most likely Vikings pick if either is available at No. 7. The Sporting News and ESPN talking head Mel Kiper have spoken -- both have the Vikings taking Newman in the first round.

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