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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — With the NFL labor agreement in place, the Minnesota Vikings say they’re ready to focus their attention on a new season of football, starting with training camp in Mankato.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said he is glad to be getting back to work.
“It is terrific that we can now get into training camp and have our players start working and competing at their respective positions so we can begin to lay the foundation for success,” he said in a statement released by the team. “I look forward to seeing our fans in Mankato.”
The team will report to MSU on Sunday, July 31.
Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf said the team is excited to begin preparations for a successful 2011 season.
“We appreciate the patience and support of Vikings fans throughout this process,” he said. “Under Coach Frazier’s leadership, we look forward to sharing an exciting season of football with our fans.”
Frazier will hold a press conference at the Winter Park field house at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
More than 60,000 visitors come to Mankato for Vikings training camp and spend an estimated $5 million to $6 million, according to reports. MSU’s training camp contract expires after this summer. This is the 46th consecutive year the team has held training camp in Mankato.
Nick Tow Arnett finished last season for Seattle and is now a free agent. He, like all free agents, will need to be ready to make a decision quickly, if he wants to get into a camp.
“Just hopefully teams will be calling and you just gotta make a pick with where you feel comfortable at,” he said. “That’s what they said, if you’re a free agent this year, you better be ready to make up your mind quick.”
Mankato has long been seen as a necessary evil for the Vikings — the drudgery before the pay day — but on Monday, they’re looking forward to the trip because it means they’re back in business.
“It’s exciting. It’s been a while since we’ve been back to work so I’ve been waiting for this moment to come since we got done with our last game. So I’m ready to go,” said Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt.
Now the question shifts to the product on the field and the questions begin. Will this product be as good as its been if the team hasn’t had an off-season to work out together?
That’s a question that will be answered soon.
“I don’t think the product’s going to be as good as early. Especially if we have to play a preseason game, regular schedule on a week’s practice, that’s going to be tough. Signing free agents, getting guys into the system, getting ready, getting our bodies back into shape,” said Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
But now there’s a sense of relief for the players and the
immediate game moves directly to the front office.
“I think it’s going to be a process in itself because the people upstairs are going to have to make a lot of decisions,” said Vikings linebacker Jasper Brinkley. “I think the pressure falls on them.”