MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — The Vikings are moving from Eden Prairie to a new headquarters and training facility in Eagan. So how could that impact training camp in Mankato?
This summer will mark the 51st year the Vikings will hold camp at Minnesota State University. Vikings Chief Operating Officer said no decisions have been made about the future. They have a contract with MSU until 2018, the same year the new facility will be complete. Many in Mankato feel the writing is on the wall.
The owner of Jake’s Pizza said Vikings training camp put his business on the map.
“We became very well known for being a Viking hangout, all the guys used to come here back to Fran Tarkenton and Allen Page,” Wally Boyer said.
Boyer thinks his 20 percent boost in business each summer will come to an end once the Eagan facility is built.
“You don’t build a facility like that and not use it to its full potential. It’s going to be a big bust for us when they leave,” Boyer said.
“I wouldn’t be very happy,” 11-year-old fan Liam Murphy said.
Liam Murphy plans his summer around Vikings Training camp.
“It’s just fun like watching them practice and getting autographs,” Liam Murphy said.
His mom knows it will be tough when the time comes.
“My kids will be devastated to see it go because they are there every day,” Derrith Murphy said.
“It would be silly to say we’re not paying attention,” Sports Commission Director Chris Willaert said.
Willaert said the economic impact is $5 million to $6 million during the two weeks of camp, along with the prestige of being the host city. He said don’t count Mankato out just yet.
“We want to be the beginning of the road every year. We’re at least going to make it really hard for them to ever say if we’re not going back there,” Willaert said.
Still business owners, and fans, understand management will do what’s best for the team.
“If they do go, I will sure miss them not just for the business but all the personal relationships,” Boyer said.
A representative for MSU Mankato said: “Vikings training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato is a wonderful tradition for our University and the Mankato-area community. Last summer we celebrated 50 years of Vikings training camp on our campus, and we are very pleased to have signed a new three-year contract with the Vikings for the team to continue holding its training camp on our campus.”