With the paint not even dry on the new US Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings are wasting no time in breaking ground on another project that is long overdue, a new team headquarters and practice facility. Today in Eagan, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on hand and wearing a Vikings Division Championship hat, the Vikings broke ground on the new Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center and TCO Stadium.
"Following the recent opening of U.S. Bank Stadium, today's groundbreaking marks another significant milestone in Minnesota Vikings history," said Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf. "Constructing this world-class facility and formalizing the partnership with TCO furthers our goals of building this football team for sustained success, developing long-term business relationships, and ensuring our organization remains a strong community partner."
The approximate 40-acre Vikings campus is expected to include:
· New administrative offices for Vikings staff
· Outdoor stadium with an anticipated capacity of 6,000 (expandable)
· Five outdoor practice fields (including stadium field) - four grass, one synthetic
· Outdoor training areas, including a sand pit and inclined surfaces
· Indoor practice facility with a 100-yard synthetic surface field and full-clear height for kicking
· Team auditorium and player position meeting rooms
· Media center/press facilities
· Expanded locker room, weight room and equipment facilities
· Cardiovascular and specialized speed rooms
· Hydrotherapy room and post-workout recovery rooms
There was a lot of fanfare for the event, as a parachute team dropped in with a shovel for Goodell to use on the ceremonial first scoop. (Man, there's a joke in there somewhere, but I'm just not seeing it).
There were also several Vikings players on hand, to include Teddy Bridgewater and Laquon Treadwell, along with Vikings ownership, GM Rick Spielman, and head coach Mike Zimmer.
As incredible as this new facility sounds, you have to imagine that when this opens in 2018, it's almost certainly going to spell the end of training camp in Mankato, a Vikings tradition for over 50 years. The contract with Mankato expires at the end of 2017, and the new facility is scheduled to be open in early 2018. And with five practice fields and a stadium that can expand to 10,000 seats, well...if you want to make sure you see the Vikings in Mankato, you better go next season, or get down there before they break camp this season.
And it's going to be more than just a Vikings site, as over 150 acres are reserved for retail development over the next 10-15 seasons, so it's going to be quite a facility and area when it's all said and done.