It was back in 1981, basically the dark ages, when the Minnesota Vikings last built a team headquarters. The location, a familiar one right off of highway 494 in Eden Prairie was christened and named after one of the men responsible for bringing the Vikings to Minnesota Max Winter. But for the past 26 years, the rest of the league, technology and the world started to pass by Winter Park as if the teams now aged facility was stuck in a pile of mud. Sure there were additions and upgrades throughout the years but compared to what the rest of the league and even many colleges were dealing with, Winter Park just didn’t cut it anymore.
Enter Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center, the team’s new facility that is under construction as we speak across town in Eagan.
Visiting the site today for a progress report of sorts, I learned a bunch about some of the cool new pieces of technology the new facility will showcase. Below are 11 of the coolest advancements set to debut in 2018
Auditorium/Team Meeting Room
Right now, at Winter Park, the team meeting room is a temporary structure in the southwest corner of the field house. Obviously that means that there are technological limitations but the meeting room also bleeds onto the indoor practice football field limiting them to a single 90 yard work space to prepare on. The new 174 seat auditorium will be a permanent, multi-use structure. An accordian door will separate the auditorium from the VEN studios (below) allowing for podcasts and or videos to be shot and recorded with a live studio audience of up to 200 people!
Over the past five years maybe the biggest department expansion with the Vikings has been the Vikings Entertainment Network. The new facility will upgrade their space and leave state of the art studios for TV, radio and more on site. They move from a 400 square foot office workspace into a 6,201 square foot studio workspace. Better yet, KFAN will originate unique programming content from the VEN studios on a regular basis!
Wired Practice Fields
Even the practice fields will be wired. Gone are the days of a film crew rising up on a scissor lift to film practice and lower down footage to a runner who then takes it inside for processing. The new facilities will have permanent but mobile telescoping cameras that are wired to a control center on the ground that will not only allow for safer ground control of cameras but instant editing and file transfers to take place cutting down processing time greatly.
With space limited at their current facility, the Vikings options for cardio have been limited to running hills and running sprints on the available football fields. The addition of a 1,500 square foot cardio mezzanine will set aside dedicated space for players to train, rehab and exercise on site.
Built in hills and pits
Along with the indoor training facilities, outdoor amenities are in the works. Specifically designed hills and sand pits will be built into the terrain to allow rehabilitation and training to take place on a nature surface as well.
Rehabilitation and Recovery Facilities
Certified Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman was doing his best with what Winter Park could provide, but his job is about to become a little easier with TCO Performance Center. Armed with a training room nearly 5Xs larger, a treadmill pool, cold plunge pool, hot plunge pool, 4 extremity whirlpool tubs and a Cryotherapy room the Vikings will be able to bounce back in less time that it had once took.
Virtual Reality Room
The past few seasons the Vikings have been implementing Virtual Reality recordings into the players training and preparation to better put them on the field with a 360-degree view of what’s happening. The new facilities will come with a 370 square foot virtual reality training center
Permanent Draft Room Fixture
The way it is at Winter Park, a multi-use conference room is transformed each year for General Rick Spielman and is locked down to become the team’s “Draft Room” fresh with scouting reports and the “big board” set up and ready to roll. At TCO, Rick will have a permanently sourced draft room allowing his work to remain fluid throughout the entire year leading up to the draft.
On Site Twin Cities Orthopedic Location
As part of the team’s existing and future relationship with TCO, an on site facility is set to open in April of 2018 allowing the team access for player MRIs, assessments and potential surgeries to take place right on site. The facility will also be open to the public replacing TCO’s temporary location of Pilot Knob in Eagan.
Sports Performance Facility
A further part of the agreement with Twin Cities Orthopedics, a state of the art sports performance center will be built allowing for the study of sports performance that will hold benefit for both the team and high school sports in the state of Minnesota. I toured one of these facilities at the NIKE headquarters in Oregon and they are amazing!
Pedestrian Walking Bridge With [possible] VIKINGS SHIP!
One of the cooler attributes of this parcel of land is the landscape. Along with developable land, there are wooded areas and lakes on site as well. Presently one of the lakes is split in two by a driving bridge. That driving bridge will be minimized and turned into a walking bridge that will connect the future commercial areas with the team facilities. Stuck right in the middle of that bridge, they’re talking about installing A VIKINGS SHIP for all of us to hang out on! Not necessarily “technological” but pretty cool none the less.