Vikings prepping hard for London trip

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 21, 2013 - 12:03 AM

The team already is making serious preparations for its Sept. 29 game against the Steelers in England.

hide

Big Ben is framed by a tree on Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster in London

Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– During a reconnaissance trip to London last October, four Vikings executives — Lester Bagley, Kevin Warren, Steve LaCroix and Steve Poppen — were put in charge of taking a pulse on everything involved in the lead-up to last season’s Week 8 game between the Patriots and Rams at Wembley Stadium.

And when the contest finally kicked off, they all came away with heightened admiration for the enthusiasm that had built.

“The passion over there, I think, was a surprise to all of us,” said Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs. “It quickly gave us the feel for the love they have for the NFL game. They love the real deal, the real game. Not a preseason game, not the World League of American Football. They want the real NFL game that counts.”

The Vikings execs also gained a clearer understanding of just how many moving parts are involved in pulling off the league’s annual International Series contest, from travel to promotions and ticketing to community outreach and the football side of things. So as the Vikings prepare to be hosts of a Sept. 29 clash with the Steelers in London, they’re already busy coordinating efforts across all fronts.

From a promotional standpoint, John Sullivan, Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith and Kyle Rudolph will head to both London and Ireland next week, traveling to multiple cities to begin generating buzz for the game.

In addition, Vikings Entertainment Network continues ironing out details for a partnership with the UK’s Sky Network, aiming to deliver a steady feed of Vikings-related programming leading up to September.

From a travel standpoint, the team already has made the decision to fly to London on Sept. 23 — the Monday before the game — hoping to quickly adjust to the time difference while smoothly transitioning into game preparation mode.

Yet for the organization as a whole, it won’t be standard road game travel either with the Vikings hoping to bring at least some of the Mall of America Field experience to England. That means taking cheerleaders, Viktor the Viking, familiar game-day music.

“We’re even talking about shipping the gjallarhorn,” LaCroix said. “I’m pretty sure it won’t quite fit in the overhead. But it’s all part of our effort to bring our brand over there.”

Bill Belichick has taken the Patriots on the London voyage twice and come back with blowout victories both times, including last season when New England hammered St. Louis 45-7.

Belichick believes New England’s operations people jump-started the success by coordinating travel and lodging and convenient facilities for practice, meetings and classroom work.

“Hopefully as a team you just flow into it,” Belichick said. “It’s not like going to another NFL city. So the preparation by the people on the operations side of things is the big key. Then ultimately the team needs to be focused and mature enough to be able to deal with the changes and be able to generate the focus on the game with so much potential difference and distraction.”

That quest for normalcy remains the top priority for the Vikings. Earlier this month, General Manager Rick Spielman and vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski took their own exploratory trip to London to further research the best possible setups, eyeing hotels in conjunction with venues for practice and backup plans in case of poor weather.

Coach Leslie Frazier has provided his input as well. Frazier said his biggest concern is establishing an optimal practice site while also not overlooking minor details such as food. Most of all, Frazier hopes to keep the team focused.

“[The key will be] reminding the players this is a business trip,” he said. “As different as it will be, we need to be in the mind-set that this is a regular-season game. It’s not a preseason game. So I need to get them in that mind-set that although we’re traveling and going out of the country and they’ve got a lot of friends and relatives talking about London and going to Europe, this is an important regular-season game.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - C. Morton
Toronto - D. Hutchison 6:05 PM
Baltimore - U. Jimenez
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Miami - N. Eovaldi 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Houston - N. Tropeano
Detroit - R. Porcello 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 7:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Los Angeles - D. Haren 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
San Francisco - J. Peavy 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Philadelphia 30 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close