Vikings Training Camp

Brett Favre didn’t. We did.

Matt and I went to Vikings Training Camp in Mankato! I’ve always wanted to go. We always planned to go, but… August is a crazy month at our house.

Yet with last year’s great run, Vikes fever hit me earlier and harder, so:

Early one morning as Matt and I had breakfast together as usual (our sleepy girls rarely join us on summer mornings), we decided to just go.

The drive down was gorgeous, and we scribbled down several possible camping spots near beautiful southern Minnesota lakes and picturesque towns.

We laughed about our last trips to Mankato, in the bitter chill of winter, to watch the UND hockey team in action vs. Mankato.

Pre-game gossip

We listened to KFAN to get the latest gossip on the Vikes. Still no word from Brett. Percy and Sidney still AWOL. Hilarious interview with Erin Henderson. If you hear he will be on, tune in. Guaranteed great radio. I told Matt it’s lucky I love my clients and colleagues or I’d just listen to sports radio all day long.

Before long, we had parked and were strolling in to the fields.

We're here! A whole lot easier than getting in to the Dome, and I didn't need to cover any kids' ears to tune out the "fun"

It was immediately clear we were amongst the die-hard Vikings fans. I felt right at home! These are the people who, sadly, probably can’t afford game tickets, but live for the purple. They know the players, even without names on jerseys. I knew if I asked any stat, they would know it. Like me, they’re still in mourning over that interception in New Orleans.

Yet hope springs eternal each fall. 

Just like it has for 50 years in Minnesota. Training Camp isn’t fancy, except a few neat decals on the walkway to the fields. My favorite:

Seeing if I could fill the shoes of my childhood Vikes hero. I fondly recall wearing my #10 jersey under my church dress every Sunday.

 First look at the team

We had great seats (all seats are great here) to watch first the offense, then O and D run lots of drills.

My observations:

AP can catch passes, too He didn’t look as mechanical in catching passes and heading up field. When he did, he kept right on going through the end zone. “‘Guess that’s why his mama nick-named him ‘All Day,’ mom,” Matt said, laughing. I reminded him of Herb Brooks: “The legs feed the wolves.” Later, Matt said, “So when we’re in Dallas (site of the Super Bowl), that extra time running in August will pay off, huh?” Let’s hope, Matty. Let’s hope. I bet AP will be on the field more often on 3rd downs this season.

E.J. Henderson is amazing Coming back at this level from a broken femur. Wow.

We won’t have Leslie Frazier much longer I had the most fun watching him command his troops. Now our defensive coordinator, he’ll be a head coach somewhere for one very lucky team next year.

There’s a war on for the 3rd QB spot Joe Webb (rookie) and Sage Rosenfels were working the hardest–even in stifling humid heat. You could tell it’s a tough battle. If I were in charge, I’d pick Webb.

Bernard Berrian has great hands He’s fast, acrobatic and I (almost) didn’t mind that we didn’t get to see Sidney Rice or Percy in action.

We had a great trip home, dreaming about the season ahead. Next year, I’ll definitely be back at camp.

How about you? Have you been to an NFL training camp? Game to go next summer?

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