While it is currently a field of dug-out mudpits and erected steel beams, the Minnesota Vikings’ new practice facility, set for a March 1, 2018 opening, is taking shape.
The TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minn., will replace Eden Prairie’s Winter Park as the team’s primary headquarters, consolidating team employees under one roof. Currently, Vikings workers are spread across five different sites: Winter Park, U.S. Bank Stadium and office buildings in Eden Prairie, Minneapolis and Eagan.
The move to the new location will streamline administrative operations by bringing workers together. It also bolsters operations on the football side. Minnesota’s current setup at the 36-year-old Eden Prairie facility features two outdoor practice fields, one of which is 10 yards short; the other lacking goalposts on one side. The current indoor field has ceilings too low for punters to practice and a makeshift film-watching area that cuts off half of one end zone.
The Eagan facility represents a massive upgrade with four full-length outdoor fields (two of which are heated) and one indoor field with ceilings of an appropriate height.
Here is what the site looks like presently. The final steel beam was hung last week, meaning walls, roofing and sod will be installed over the summer.
And here is the eventual final product.
The 40-acre plot of land will also feature a 6,500-person stadium that will be used to showcase high school sports such as football, soccer and lacrosse, as well as potential NCAA events. It is expandable to 10,000 seats and will contain a roomy media center within its press box.
Some of the upgrades at the new facility are staggering when compared with the current situation. The total square footage is more than double. The locker room is 50 percent larger. The training room is nearly four times larger. The Vikings Entertainment Network studio is over 15 times larger. And while it’s not implied on the chart below, Wednesday’s speakers assured the media that it would also be receiving an upgrade to its facilities.
The media heard from Vikings brass such as owner Mark Wilf, executive vice president Lester Bagley and COO Kevin Warren for over an hour Wednesday morning. Here are the other major takeaways from the session.
- No decisions have been made on the Vikings future training camp home, according to Warren. However, the COO conceded that the Vikings have the ability to get out of their deal with Mankato in December of 2017, which opens the door for holding training camp in Eagan as early as 2018.
- The Vikings said they toured most other NFL practice facilities, as well as several “Power Five” college facilities before drawing up blueprints for the TCO Performance Center. Bagley mentioned the Seattle Seahawks specifically when asked if the team tried to model its new digs after any other properties.
- The Wilf family made their fortune in real estate development, so naturally, they will be using the land surrounding the new facility to create Viking Lakes, a 200-acre development that will likely include hotels, restaurants, retail shopping and rental housing. In theory, Vikings players will be able to live, train, shop and eat on the site when it’s completed. Construction will not begin on the additional endeavor until 2018.