Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fans Weather the Storm As Players Enter Mankato

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Fans braved the elements as the rain begins to fall at the Julia Sears Residence
Hall, as the Vikings moved in for training camp today.
 Daniel House recaps move-in day and discusses the Vikings rainy arrival to 2013 Training Camp.

Safety Mistal Raymond and cornerback Josh Robinson
take a "joyride" on their way to a meeting at Thursday's move-in day.
The Vikings entered Mankato with players arriving at various times between 12 and 4 pm. Despite a rain shower at the start and middle of the report time, the fans didn't shy away from the chance at an autograph from their favorite players.

The rookies arrived first on a bus, which brought forth a ton of energy from fans searching for their first autographs from rookies such as Cordarrelle Patterson, Xavier Rhodes, and Sharrif Floyd. Each of them signed autographs, posed for pictures, and talked with members of the local media. Shortly after the rookies arrival, a thunderstorm entered the area, which dumped sheets of rain on the fans awaiting for the arrival of players. It all lasted for nearly 30 minutes, as players sprinted inside with luggage wrapped over their shoulders. The highlight of the afternoon was Joe Webb walking to his car with his green kid's umbrella. He later returned with a regular sized umbrella and a smile beamed across his face, as fans teased him about his umbrella "upgrade."

The rain continued to fall as Greg Jennings and Desmond Bishop arrived together to embark on their journey from the green and gold to the purple and gold. Despite the rain, both players still signed autographs and greeted fans, as they made their entrance to the Julia Sears Residence Hall. The rain continued to fall while Everson Griffen sprinted into the dorm area and displayed explosive speed and a physical frame that fans had never seen before. Everson excites me and is playing in a contract season, which could bring forth big money if he can produce during the season.

Minutes later, the rain began to slow and the fans removed themselves from shelter and umbrellas, to continue meeting their favorite players. A physically stronger Christian Ponder arrived and posed for pictures and signed autographs for fans. Several other players entered and injected energy into the group of 100 faithful fans who weathered the elements, but minutes after getting settled, the rain began to fall again. Some fans left, but others returned later when the sun remerged and the weather improved.

Matt Kalil arrived and looked as physically fit as any player who entered the residence hall. When asked about his weight routine this offseason, he discussed losing poor weight and gaining muscle, which elevated his weight from 280 pounds to 308 pounds. Kyle Rudolph followed suit and looked more muscular from an upper body standpoint. He was very outgoing and signed autographs and posed for pictures with each fan in attendance.

Chad Greenway was mobbed by media as he entered the sidewalk with a mattress and blankets rested on a carrier cart. He reached the building and signed autographs for all the fans lined down the fence outside Julia Sears Residence Hall. When asked about his knee surgery, he answered with a smile and assured the group he is ready to contribute during tomorrow's first practice.

The final notable player to arrive was Vikings defensive end, Jared Allen. He arrived with a half hour to spare and looked focused and ready to get practicing. He also signed autographs and mingled with fans after he pulled into the parking lot in his Ford F-250, dressed in a cowboy hat and flip flops.

Adrian Peterson never made a public appearance, but a team official indicated he is in Mankato and went directly to meetings without checking in immediately.

One thing was certain, the energy surrounding this group of players was immense from the beginning of move-in day. Players and coaches seemed focused and look ready to beginning the 2013 season with the first practice tomorrow morning.

The players left for meetings this evening and were ready to receive a pre-training camp speech from former Vikings center and Ravens Super Bowl champion, Matt Birk. Birk, a former center for the Vikings from 1998 to 2008, is one of the greatest Vikings offensive lineman in the team's history. He recently joined the Ravens in 2009, won a Super Bowl in 2012, and retired after 15 seasons in the league.

The Outlook:

Tomorrow's training camp schedule begins with a walkthrough at Blakeslee Stadium from 10:30 to 11:30 am and an afternoon practice which begins at the practice fields, from 2:45 until 5:30.

Stay tuned for the latest coverage from Daniel House and look for his live feed beginning tomorrow morning at 8am!


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