The Minnesota Vikings have an important training camp ahead of them in preparation for the 2021 season, after a mediocre 2020. When does it start, where will it be held, and are fans allowed to attend?
With phase 3 of the 2021 NFL offseason set to wrap up on June 18th, teams are already looking forward to training camp. It is by far the most grueling and pivotal part of a team’s preparations.
Training camps often include busy days for players and coaches, sometimes with 2 practices a day, weight training, team meetings, and film sessions.
Per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), no contact is permitted during the first 3 days of camp. Days 4 and 5 will see players at full speed in light equipment called “spiders and shells”, day 6 is a mandatory day off, and finally fully-padded practices start on the 7th day.
Along with the strenuous schedule, full-speed practices mean that both contact and non-contact injuries are very common. Regardless, training camp is mandatory for all players unlike OTAs which are voluntary. If a player doesn’t show up, they risk getting cut by their team.
When Does Training Camp Start for the Minnesota Vikings?
For the first time in NFL history, there will be a unified start for training camp. 29 franchises, including the Vikings, will kickoff their training camps on Tuesday, July 27th.
The Cowboys and Steelers, who will play in the preseason Hall of Fame game, are allowed to begin training camp as early as July 21st. The Buccaneers will also be allowed to start training camp 3 days earlier on the 24th, as they play the season opener against Dallas on a Thursday night.
For the first time, the NFL will have a unified start to training camp, with 29 teams set to report Tuesday, July 27 — 47 days before the Sunday of Week 1, as allowed by the CBA — and plans for league-wide practices and fan events Saturday, July 31.
Midsummer Madness, anyone?
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 25, 2021
The #Cowboys and #Steelers can report as early as July 21 because of the hall of fame game. The #Bucs can report July 24 because of a Thursday opener. Players from the other 29 teams are required to report July 27, per the CBA.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 25, 2021
Where is the Vikings Training Camp Being Held?
Normally, NFL teams are permitted to hold training camp at outside facilities to improve accessibility for fans, However last year, due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic, teams were instructed to conduct camp at their own training facilities.
With the situation looking a little more optimistic, the league has informed teams they can return to outside facilities, should they choose to do so.
Despite the relaxation, the Vikings are expected to hold training camp at home. The team, led by head coach Mike Zimmer, will prepare for upcoming season at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan, which was opened just 3 years ago.
Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Roster: Key Position Battles to Watch
As usual, teams will start camp with 90-man rosters. They must cut down to 85 players by August 17th and to 80 by August 24th, before settling on a final 53-man roster by August 31st.
The Vikings will be returning to camp with a decent core. Although they had a losing 7-9 record in 2020, Minnesota is coming off a strong draft and looking towards a promising 2021.
On the offensive side of the ball, it’ll be interesting to see how many reps rookie QB Kellen Mond will get as the club prepares for life after Kirk Cousins.
Getting Kirk some protection has been, to the great delight of Vikings fans, a key focus this offseason. GM Rick Spielman used his first round pick on T Christian Darrisaw before selecting G Wyatt Davis.
One key talking point will definitely be the performance of the O-Line rookies in camp and the projected starters. Finally, it what seems to be a problem every offseason in Minnesota, the Vikes urgently need to find a WR3.
Luckily, they have one of the best WR tandems in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, but choosing and sticking with a 3rd guy has, and continues to be, a concern in Minneapolis. At the moment, Chad Beebe or Olabisi Johnson are favorites to fill the spot.
The defense, on the other hand, needs to improve as a unit. Mike Zimmer, who is known for his aggressive and effective defensive schemes, said his 2020 group was the “worst one I’ve ever had.”
In particular, sorting out the starting cornerbacks needs to be a priority. Zimmer has some decent options to choose from, but that’s what fans believed last year before the CBs eventually disappointed.
Will Fans Be Allowed to Attend Vikings Training Camp?
The NFL is planning to have fans at all training camps, with fan events scheduled to start on July 31st. The Vikings are no exception, as they hope to have around 5,000 fans per day at training camp.
“The next thing up is training camp, so we want to bring 4,000 to 5,000 people a day to training camp, which then leads into our preseason,’’ Vikings executive VP of public affairs Lester Bagley said in early May. “A lot of work to be done and we need to bring the vaccination rate up and get that 70 percent that the governor has talked about.’’
Additionally, the Vikings are among the teams who have received approval to play games with a 100% stadium capacity. After an entire season without fans, it’ll be exciting to experience purple crowds and Skol chants again.