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Vikings Draw 9K Fans To Night Practice

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(credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

(credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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MANKATO, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota Vikings fans sure are ready for some football.

A summer-long lockout didn’t stop more than 9,000 fans from heading to Mankato for the team’s annual night scrimmage at Minnesota State University.

Team officials say 9,145 fans packed into Blakeslee Stadium to watch the free practice. The bleachers on both sidelines were filled and fans also sat on a grassy area in one end zone and stood behind fences to catch a glimpse of Donovan McNabb, Adrian Peterson and the rest of the team.

The big turnout came as quite a surprise for a team coming off of a 6-10 season.

The Vikings weren’t sure they were even going to make it to Mankato for a 46th straight training camp. The labor deal was settled until about two weeks ago, well past the team’s self-imposed deadline of July 18.

Several teams across the league canceled their traditional plans of holding training camp at colleges and universities, instead electing to stay at their team headquarters during a period of such uncertainty.

“To have this kind of support from our fans really validates what the Wilf family did by being patient throughout this lockout and just wanting to be able to come down to Minnesota State here in Mankato,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “A great job them and just tremendous support by our fans.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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