Vikings fans who have grown accustomed to driving from the Twin Cities to Mankato for training camp will find their favorite team much closer to home this year. But while their commute to the Vikings’ practices will be shorter, they will have to finalize their plans much sooner.
The Vikings will require tickets for fans to attend practices in their first training camp at their new practice facility in Eagan. They will make tickets for their 18 open practices available to season ticket-holders on their website at 9 a.m. Thursday; the general public will have its first crack at tickets at 9 a.m. Monday.
The team expects to have 4,000 free general admission seats available each day, as well as another 1,000 reserved seats for $20 apiece (or $25 on the Vikings’ two days of joint practices with the Jaguars). At least 1,300 general admission seats for each day of camp will still be available when tickets are open to the public Monday.
But those seats, as well as 2,200 daily parking passes available for $10 apiece, could go quickly.
“Reserve your ticket in advance; there will be no access to camp without a ticket,” said Jeff Anderson, the Vikings executive communications director during a media briefing of the team’s training camp plan Tuesday. “Plan ahead — that includes reserving your ticket, your parking, your route to camp. Plan to arrive early, and be patient with us. Obviously, the security process and things in Year 1, there’s going to be some bumps along the way. But we have a plan and a process, and we feel really good about it, so we’re asking fans to plan ahead.”
Anderson said those who attend camp can also “expect a tremendous fan experience,” pointing to the new Vikings museum, the 6,500-seat stadium the team will use for various events and more open practices.
The Vikings had 14 days of practice open to fans at Minnesota State Mankato last year and in 2015, Anderson said. And only 10 days of open practice in 2016.
“One of the great things about this site is now, we can allow even more access to fans,” Anderson said.
The Vikings’ first open practice will be on July 25, during the first of three practices for rookies only. The first full-team practice is July 28, and the Vikings will hold a night practice from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 4.
The team’s daily practice schedule will be similar to what it used in Mankato; walkthroughs will be held from 10:30-11:30 a.m. each day, and practice will be from 2:45-5:10 p.m. (other than the one night practice).
Joint practices with the Jaguars, before the Vikings’ preseason game with Jacksonville on Aug. 18, will highlight the final two days of open practices in Eagan on Aug. 15 and 16.
Fans can reserve up to four seats for as many as two days of camp on the Vikings’ website, and can purchase one parking pass for each ticket transaction. All tickets and passes will be electronic, and accessible only through the Vikings’ mobile app.
Fans can leave and come back on days they have tickets, but unlike in Mankato, when some fans could watch the Vikings practice indoors during inclement weather, indoor practices at the team’s facility in Eagan will be closed to the public.
The Vikings will refund reserved seats and parking passes on days where practice is canceled or moved inside, but because they expect the 90,000 available seats for training camp to sell out, they won’t be able to offer exchanges.
During training camp, the team’s new museum will be open only to those fans that have tickets for the day’s practices.
All fans will enter the complex via Vikings Parkway or Ames Crossing. Fans who decide not to purchase parking, or use a ride share service, can be dropped off at Trinity School at River Ridge, where a shuttle service will bring them to the main security checkpoint. Fans will go through metal detectors, similar to the ones they use at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings will allow bags of all sizes at camp, though they will have a fast-pass lane for fans without bags.
While fans could venture to nearby restaurants in Mankato, they won’t find many options during the first season in Eagan, with much of the team’s 200-acre facility yet to be developed.
Anderson said the Vikings will have “multiple food and beverage” options for fans, including concession stands and food trucks. Hot dogs will be $3 at camp, bottled water $1. Fans can bring their own water bottles, but won’t be permitted to bring in any other food items, or to tailgate in the parking lot.