Mankato? Winter Park? Vikings keep options open for camp site

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 9, 2011 - 12:00 PM

If the NFL lockout continues to drag on, the team might lose its window of opportunity to train in its traditional spot.

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A young fan watched the Vikings afternoon practice on Monday in Mankato, Minn., last August. If the NFL lockout continues to drag on, the team might lose its window of opportunity to train in its traditional spot.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday that with the NFL lockout still ongoing internal discussions continue about a drop-dead date for a Mankato training camp.

"There are other teams in our league that don't have training camps away from their facilities, so it would be kind of the way the league is going," Frazier said of having training camp at Winter Park.

The NFL work stoppage is in its third month, and although there have been secret meetings between the sides this week, a settlement does not appear to be imminent.

This has created plenty of uncertainty about a variety of issues, including when free agency will start, who will be eligible for unrestricted free agency, and if there will be a 16-game season. Vikings officials met with ownership Tuesday to discuss some of the different scenarios.

"We've gone through a bunch of contingency plans," Frazier said before participating in the team's charity golf tournament to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove. "As a matter of fact, I was talking to a friend of mine, [Houston Texans coach] Gary Kubiak, driving over here this morning. We were just discussing some of the different scenarios that he and I have kind of painted for our staffs."

Although an official start date for camp in Mankato has not been released, the Vikings figure to open around July 29 -- that is, if teams go back to work by then. Minnesota State begins classes on Aug. 22, meaning the plan probably would be for the Vikings to break camp on Aug. 11, or two days before their preseason opener at Tennessee.

If the lockout drags into early July, keeping Mankato in the plans might not be plausible. That is among the issues Frazier is dealing with.

"Our organization has done a lot of the right things in my mind as far as handling this lockout in the right way, preparing us for some of the things that are going to come," he said.

As for what the 53-man roster might eventually look like, Frazier feels the familiarity he has with the organization will help.

"We're going through our roster, saying, 'These are going to be the starters based on what we know from previous history,'" said Frazier. "We can't really say we had a chance to evaluate them in an offseason, so my familiarity with our players, along with some other staff members, really helps in that regard."

Burress not on radar

Add the Vikings to the list of teams that have no plans to pursue free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who was released from an upstate New York prison this week after serving a 20-month sentence on a gun charge. Burress, 33, has played nine NFL seasons and was most recently with the New York Giants from 2005 to 2008.

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