While there has been some positive news regarding "secret" labor talks between the players and owners this week, the fact of the matter remains that the lockout has just started Month Four with no clear end in sight. It's crazy to think that we're supposed to be playing preseason games in less than two months, yet players and coaches aren't even supposed to be talking to each other.
But what about the annual event that comes before those preseason games? You know, that whole "Training Camp" thing? If this awful lockout drags on well into next month, when does Training Camp get called off?
Thankfully, the Vikings have just released a statement clarifying that question. Here's exactly what the Vikings had to say regarding their annual trek to 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.
So there you have it. If the owners and players can't get their heads out of their collective butts by July 18, the Vikings won't be enjoying the time-honored tradition of preparing for the season in Mankato. Obviously, getting a deal done by that July 18 cutoff date wouldn't kill the season; the only way the lockout would truly do some long-term damage would be missing actual regular season games. But let's not forget that just about every NFL team has a smaller community that they report to every year in midsummer. Those few weeks each year may not mean a ton in the larger scope of things, but I know it's a pretty big deal for the Mankatos of the world. (And on a selfish note, some of us DN writers might get to go cover training camp in Mankato if there is one. C'mon guys, let's get this deal done!)
The latest news regarding labor talks has me cautiously optimistic, but I'm still not sure we'll see the Vikings in Mankato this year. What do you think? Vote in the poll below.