On Tuesday, we wrote that July 18 would be a key date for whether the Vikings would hold training camp in Mankato this year. If the NFL lockout is not over by that date, there appears a real chance that if and when camp starts it will be held at the team's Winter Park facility in Eden Prairie.
This morning, the Vikings issued an official statement on the situation. Here it is:
"The Minnesota Vikings continue preparations for hosting the team's 2011 training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In respect to the University and the Mankato community, we have informed school officials that July 18 is the latest date to officially determine whether having training camp at Minnesota State University this year is feasible. The Vikings will maintain contact with University officials moving forward, and we remain hopeful we will practice in front of thousands of Vikings fans in Mankato later this summer."
It's not surprising the team would want to make its plans very clear. The two-week period spent in Mankato gives Vikings fans an opportunity to watch the team practice on a daily basis and also allows them to get autographs. In other words, it's very good from a public relations standpoint.
Winter Park isn't a big facility and when camp shifts back to that complex the practices are closed to the public.