The Vikings showed off Monday their new Eagan headquarters, a project that is the first phase of a massive redevelopment that will give the community an identity for decades to come.
Team execs refer to the project, on the former headquarters of Northwest Airlines, as a world-class facility with a team Hall of Fame, a 6,500-seat stadium for high school football, soccer and lacrosse, as well as an athletic performance building and clinic built and run by Twin Cities Orthopedics to provide treatment from physical therapy to surgery.
In comparing this development to others he’s done, Vikings owner and New Jersey real estate mogul Zygi Wilf, called the project “as exciting as they come.”
The Vikings’ portion of the project, which includes the team and corporate headquarters, a glassy, angular building as well as surrounding fields and the stadium, is 70 percent complete. Four full-size football fields with perfect green grass flank the western side of the white building that will be the new headquarters, replacing the 36-year-old Winter Park, 20 minutes directly west on the interstate in Eden Prairie.
The name of the new headquarters is a mouthful and a sign of the power of naming rights money: Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. In contrast, Winter Park was named after team founder Max Winter.
As the Vikings’ campus is underway, Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO) is speeding to completion of a sports medicine center and surgical clinic. The former sits on the stadium’s south side — with views of the field — and a physical therapy and surgical clinic across a parking lot.
It’s just the beginning. In the next 15 years, team owners want to develop the remainder of the 200-acre parcel. Prospective projects include offices, hotels, up to 1,000 housing units, retail and restaurants.
Wilf said the new headquarters is a “long time coming” and will bring the team into the 21st century. He and others emphasized how they wanted their new home to be open, welcoming to the community — not just the southeastern suburb but the world.
The capacious new home brings together Vikings executives spread from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis. The team busted out of the seams of the squat, semi-subterranean Winter Park long ago. Nor has the quality of Vikings team training facilities kept pace with medical and technological advances. Winter Park has no permanent film room for breaking down plays, and the indoor practice field is too low for punters.
The Eagan home has six fields: the stadium, four outdoor practice fields and one indoors. Winter Park has two outdoors and one indoors, a portion of which gets curtained off for a film room.
The Eagan headquarters has floor-to-ceiling windows covering many walls. High ceilings add to the airy feel. The third-floor cafeteria has natural light coming from multiple sides. In contrast, the ground-floor cafeteria at Winter Park overlooks surface parking.
The team’s weight room expands from what is mostly a hallway at Winter Park into a cavernous two-story, glass enclosure. The locker rooms and treatment areas expand substantially. The team will have a permanent auditorium with comfortable chairs for the athletes. Media areas will be bigger with private interview rooms.
In addition to the Vikings’ 277,000-square-foot headquarters building (compared to 138,000 at Winter Park), Twin Cities Orthopedics is near completion with two buildings it expects to be cutting-edge.
The main clinic, set across a parking area from the Vikings’ project, will be a 76,000-square-foot, three-story facility with physical therapy on the first floor, a clinic and a surgery center on the third floor with seven operating suites. Steps away and overlooking the south side of the outdoor stadium is the 22,000-square-foot sports performance center.
The center run by TCO will focus on brain health, vision and reaction training, state-of-the-art muscle and tendon recoveries, psychology and regenerative medicine. Inside will be 5,000 square feet of turf, fitness, yoga and Pilates classes, a basketball court, dance training, sports massages, studios.
“Sports performance is no longer just how high you can jump, how fast you can run or how much weight you can push,” said Chris Bailey, director of sports medicine therapy for TCO.
The new clinics, which will be open to the public, will provide the kind of “concierge care usually reserved for [NCAA] Division I or professional athletes only,” Bailey said.
The Vikings intend to move from Winter Park to the Eagan facility after the season and their Super Bowl hosting duties. The Vikings said goodbye to Mankato in August after more than 50 years of training camp there. Eagan will be the team’s year-round home now.
Wilf said the project is on time. But he was asked if that opening date would be pushed ahead if the Vikings were to make the Super Bowl?
The owner responded, “I’m like the coach, I’m worried about next week in London.”
The Vikings travel overseas to play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.