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Friday, July 26, 2013

SKOL! Training Camp • Training Camp • Training Camp

The Minnesota Vikings have been coming to Mankato for
summer training camp since 1966.
I'm assuming that for the most part this is the "quiet before the storm" time on most college campuses.

With the Minnesota Vikings arriving this week for the 47th consecutive summer, we really can't say that's the case here at Minnesota State.

Not only does the arrival of the Purple & Gold bring a litany of fans, but also a bevy of Twin Cities and national media.  Several thousand people per day visit Minnesota State and Mankato to attend the daily work outs, which this year are scheduled to run July 26 through August 15.

Some interesting developments regarding the Vikings and this year's camp include the inking of a new three-year deal keeping them coming down 169 the next three years. Given the fact that the Mankato CVB estimates that the annual economic impact of the annual camp runs about $5-million per, obviously, it's kind of a big deal. The last year of the new agreement in 2015 coincides with the 50th year of the relationship and some details about the new contract appear HERE.

Another story line to follow will be how former Minnesota State wide receivers LaMark Brown and Adam Thielen fare as camp attendees.

Brown, who spent one season with the Mavericks after transferring from Kansas State, signed as undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons last year. After getting released on August 31, he was signed by the Buffalo Bills practice squad but was released shortly thereafter. On December 10, 2012, Brown was signed by the Vikings as a practice squad member. The Free Press interviewed Brown at the start of camp and that story is HERE.

Thielen enters his first NFL training camp after a solid college career that saw him finish near the top of several school career receiving categories including finishing second all-time at MSU in receiving yards (2,674), second in receptions (192) and third in touchdown catches (19). Thielen signed with the Vikings after posting a strong showing at the Vikings' Rookie Minicamp held in Eden Prairie, Minn., in May. He's been impressive in a short period of time and a lot has been written about him heading into camp including stories HERE, HERE and HERE.

In the event you do the twitter thing, Brown's twitter handle is @L_Brown87 and you can follow Thielen at @athielen19. Mankato Free Press correspondent Chad Courrier provides daily fodder at @chadcourrier and the Freep's daily blog is located at http://freepresstrainingcamp.blogspot.com/

And in the event you're interested in attending training camp in Mankato, you might want to have a look at the Vikings training camp page prior to coming down and that is located HERE.

Lastly, another former Maverick, lineman Junior Aumavae, is in camp with the New York Jets and he's on twitter at @aumavae_J.

It's always great to see our former players doing well and we wish LaMark, Adam and Junior well the next several weeks.

It's great to be a Maverick!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Watching the Dust Settle

This photo of MSU's Gage Towers is from the 1960s.
It was June 29th, 2013, just over two weeks ago, that Minnesota State's venerable Gage Towers came a tumbling down.

Gage, which served as the on-campus home for more than 50,000 students since opening for business in 1965, stood as one of the most recognizable landmarks in the greater Mankato and Southern Minnesota area.

For those of you who had made the southern trip down Hwy 169 at night, the lights atop Gage served notice that you were getting close to town.

It's likely that if you went to MSU you either lived there at some point or were best buddies with someone who did.  You might have met your wife or husband there.  Your kids might have lived here. You probably remember having pizza delivered there and getting letters from your mailbox there. Former students have mentioned water gun fights, elevator issues, the radio station in B tower, bunk beds, funny hall directors and tossing various items out of windows.

If you needed to give someone on-campus directions, Gage was often used as a reference point.

The implosion didn't take to long and there's plenty of video available online in the event you'd like to have a look including HERE, HERE and HERE.

The Minnesota Vikings, who report for their 2013 summer training camp July 25th, have also used Gage as their residence since selecting Mankato for their preseason workouts back in 1965. And not only will the Vikings' organization have to sleep and eat in unfamiliar digs beginning this summer, but the fans who attend training camp will undoubtedly notice something amiss.

They say it's going to take about 30 days to clean up the rubble, essentially erasing the remaining vestiges of the 135-foot towers that cost $2.57 million to build.

It's going to a lot longer than that to erase the memories.

Requiescat in pace Gage Towers
It's great to be a Maverick!