We’ll have more in the days ahead about the ongoing planning the Vikings are involved with to make their Week 4 trip to London as smooth as possible. But earlier this afternoon from the NFL’s annual meeting at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, General Manager Rick Spielman spoke some on all the moving parts of that trip and the complex logistics that are currently being worked out.
Spielman recently made a trip over to London with vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski and director of operations Luther Hippe to do some reconnaissance on the trip. Last fall, a different contingent of Vikings officials spent the week in London to take in the week that was leading up to the Patriots-Rams Week 8 game at Wembley Stadium.
Spielman noted Tuesday that one of the Vikings’ top priorities lies in making sure they have adequate facilities and back-up plans for their week, trying to make certain that what will be a potentially enjoyable week of pageantry for fans, remains very business-like for the team.
Said Spielman: “The NFL has done an unbelievable job over there making sure that the facilities are up to NFL standards, the practice fields are up to NFL standards. I was, wouldn’t say shocked, but very satisfied with what the NFL has done to make that experience over there. I think the biggest thing is as we go over to London, we want to make sure that it’s not a distraction, that we can keep it as normal a week as possible when the game preparation comes. But understanding also, that there will be some ancillary things you’ll have to deal with.”
As for the options the Vikings have assessed for practice fields? According to Spielman, there are usable fields “that are basically at the hotels where you potentially would stay.” The Vikings have also surveyed the professional soccer facilities of the Chelsea and Arsenal clubs.
“Just as long as you have the logistics in place,” Spielman said. “If there is rain or there is weather, there just aren’t a lot of indoor facilities over there that are football-related. There are indoor facilities that are soccer-related. But for the most part, we just want to make sure that if there is rain or any type of weather and we can’t go outside and practice that we have either grass fields that drain very well or potential to go inside where you can get some work done. You’d just hate to go over there if you were over there for the week and waste specifically a week of practice because of the weather.”