Just over a week before the Vikings are supposed to report to training camp the NFL still does not have labor peace. But the team continues to remain hopeful it can hold camp in Mankato for the 46th year.
“We’re still focused on Mankato and having training camp in front of our fans," said Jeff Anderson, the Vikings assistant director of public affairs. "This has been a priority for the Wilfs and for Coach [Leslie] Frazier. Clearly we’re in a holding pattern, but we’re doing everything we can to be down there and we’re optimstic it will happen.”
Vikings officials have been meeting throughout the week to discuss this issue and the focus has continued to be that it would be best to go to Mankato. In fact, some members of the Vikings operations staff already are in Mankato to help in the preparations.
The Vikings are scheduled to report to camp on the Minnesota State University campus on July 31 and begin practicing a day later. Anderson said that no decision will be made in the next several days, even if there continues to be no labor agreement.
At some point, however, the team might have to decide to train at its Winter Park facility in Eden Prairie. The issue is that Winter Park isn’t designed to accomodate fans and the Vikings practices in Mankato are open to the public and usually well attended.
MSU’s academic schedule also plays a role in all of this because the Vikings don't have the option of staying an extra week if they arrive late.
The expectation is that camp would break Aug. 11, two days before the Vikings play their preseason opener at Tennessee. Classes at the college start Aug. 22, and Michael Cooper, the media relations director at Minnesota State, has said that means it would not be possible for the Vikings to be on campus in the third week of August because students will be moving in.
The Vikings initially had told MSU officials that they would let them know by last Monday whether they would be coming to Mankato. However, that date was pushed back when it appeared as if an agreement was close.
While owners approved the new CBA on Thursday, the NFL players association has yet to follow suit.