MANKATO — Event tents are going up at the university and the purple and gold is coming out as the city prepares for the 52nd annual Minnesota Vikings Training Camp.
The camp will start small beginning next week before hitting full stride by mid-week. And like in recent years the camp that once spread out for several weeks will wrap up after just a couple of weeks.
“The rookies come in on the 23rd and practice the 24th and 25th,” said Chris Willaert, the Visit Mankato Sports Commission director. The rookies coming in to camp early will also be joined at Minnesota State University by select quarterbacks, players who have yet to accrue a season and select injured players.
On July 26 a welcome event will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Julia Sears residence building at MSU. As members of the rest of the team arrive individually that day, fans will have their best chance to score autographs. Radio Mankato will have on-site music and lawn games and there is free visitor parking in lot 4.
Additional camp events include a Vikings Women day July 29, the Vikings Village Movie Night Aug. 3, a Football and Fireworks event Aug. 5 and the Fan Appreciation Day the last day of camp.
A full list of events can be found at vikingsmankato.com.
City Center Hotel manager Rick Lecy said the annual camp is always good for business.
“Absolutely, no doubt about it. Especially on the weekend. We see some uptick on the weekdays but on the weekend we’re selling out,” he said. “We like training camp very much. It’s very helpful.”
He said the hotel visitors during camp are also in a festive mood.
“They’re excited to see the players and see them play so the people are very upbeat, fun to be around.”
The downtown hotel will don some of its staff in Vikings shirts and they run Vikings themed specials in the bar. “Something to create the atmosphere,” Lecy said.
Again this year there will be a couple of opportunities for fans and businesses to compete in showing off their Vikings spirit.
Fans looking to show off their Training Camp fever can use the hashtag #paintkatopurple on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show photos of themselves at camp and around town and dressed in their Vikings best.
Fans can also get a 2017 Training Camp shirt for $15 at the Visit Mankato office in the downtown Mankato Place.
Businesses can take part in the…