Last Training Camp in Mankato A Blast
This Wednesday, I decided that since this is the last season the Minnesota Vikings will be doing their training camp in Mankato, I had better head over. After all those years hanging out in Mankato, receiving my degree from Bethany Lutheran College, I had never gone. Now that I haven’t lived in Mankato for any part of the last two years, I decided to head up.
First of all, for morning walk-throughs, the stands were packed. Before that, though, we got to watch the players walk across the street. Walking from campus to the field, those guys heard the Mankato love from the fans. I didn’t get to see all of them walking, but I know Dalvin Cook was well-liked and EVERYBODY loves Teddy Bridgewater!
After that, I followed the flow of fans to get in. I received a program, and that really helps this time of year, before the roster gets cut down. Seeing the players and the numbers, there are some new faces to the team looking to make an impact.
I started out in the end zone with the defense having walk-throughs. After watching that a while, I moved up into the stands to watch the offense. I had gotten a perfect spot to watch Caledonia’s own Isaac Fruechte take some reps at receiver, then they switched it up a little bit. I got to see him do his thing on kickoff coverage.
It was a beautiful day in Mankato, so in the break between walk-throughs and practice with full pads, I went on a stroll. With all the fans calling out the names of the Vikings players, it was Cold Stone ice cream that called my name. So some food and some sunscreen, and a study of the program, and it was back to see the team.
The drills were even fun to watch, with the wide receivers trying to balance and catch the football, the big guys pushing the sled, and Cook running with some hold back on him. They were working hard – we could all hear one of the D-lineman screaming as he was just about closing in on Bradford in a goal-to-go situation. The opposing sides did get a little chippy at one point, but besides that and Bradford’s touchdown celebration that knocked Coach Zimmer down, it was both work for them and fun for us!
The 52nd year in Mankato is the last the Vikings will train in the Key City. I’m glad I got there one time. Maybe next year I’ll have to go and take people with me instead of meeting my Mankato friends in town