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Friday, August 3, 2012

Back in the Day - Vikings Move to Mankato

University press release announcing that the Minnesota Vikings
would begin holding their
summer training camp in Mankato beginning in 1966

One of the great things about our office is you never know what you'll find and research projects oftentimes get waylaid by something you come upon by happenstance.

This happened a few years ago when I found a box of files that apparently had once belonged to former MSU football coach and athletic director Bob Otto.  The box contained a variety of files not necessarily related to each other, but undoubtedly related to the goings-on within the athletics department during his tenure as men's AD from 1970-83. And, as it turns out, carried over some files from one of his predecessors, John Hodapp.

Hopdapp served as MSU's director of men's athletics from 1964-68 and was here during the time that negotiations took place to bring the Minnesota Vikings to Mankato for summer training camp.  The Vikings had spent the summers of 1961 through 1965 in Bemidji, but as we all know, eventually moved to Mankato for camp in 1966 and have been here ever since.  Eric Stromgren writes in his Up North Sports Report that there's some question as to why camp moved, but alludes to the fact Mankato being closer was one of the primary reasons.

In any event, a plain folder in the box entitled Minnesota Vikings contains a number of documents including training camp contracts, news paper clippings, receipts and various financial statements. There's also correspondence between former Vikings general manager Jim Finks, former Vikings coach Bud Grant, Otto and Hodapp.

While some things haven't changed all that much (with the exception of the one summer that the Vikings were housed in Julia Sears Residence Community, they've always been housed in Gage for example), a couple of things from the first contract stand out. Yes, training camp was longer with the first camp in 1966 running from July 12 through August 31.  And while I don't know what the Vikings pay for lodging and three meals a day now, but back in 1966 the cost was $7.90 per man per day. Also, back in 1966, an attached "special services contract" indicates that the Vikings paid a rental fee of $1,000 for the use of the football fields, locker rooms, showers, equipment room and training room.

Things seemed a lot simpler back then.

Have a great weekend.  It's great to be a Maverick.

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