Last Friday the Minnesota Vikings invited members of the media out to the teams new home in Eagan, MN at Twin Cities Orthopedic Performance Center and holy smokes! It was so cool I couldn't let it get buried over the weekend, I felt a need to swing back and touch on it again today so that we all wouldn't miss it.
First off, I took a bunch of photos and video that you can check out over on the Vikings blog so CLICK HERE to go check those out.
After you do that, let's highlight about four of the coolest things that they thought to add to their new state of the art training and business facility.
The Gatorade Fuel Bar
More and more, in today's day and age nutrition is an incredibly important part of professional sports. Players are paying attention to what they are putting into their bodies and teams are starting to cater facilities around they players needs. At the new TCO the state of the art cafeteria is a plus serving healthy options for players and staff, but it's on the opposite side of the building. Meanwhile, while normal adults consume 2,500 calories per day, Vikings players are closer to 6,000 calories a day. The fix for all of that, check out The Gatorade Fuel Bar!
It will be self-serviced for the players but will also be manned from time to time with nutritionists serving up energy shakes, recovery shakes, Gatorade fuel, fresh fruit, chia seeds, Juicers and more. It's located near the locker room on the way to the practice fields and indoor field house
Top Line Touch Screen Draft Room
The "war room" at Winter park was ancient. It was small, it was multi-purpose and it utilized Magnets with player names on it very similar to the sticker sheet that you use for your Fantasy Football drafts with your buddies at the bar. When used for other organizational meetings, a curtain was drawn around the entire room to cover up the magnetic draft board that lined the outer wall of the room.
Flash forward to TCO and the Draft room seats at least three dozen employees with stadium seating, but here's the kicker...the wall in the front of the room is made up of FORTY 55" flat screen TVs running four TVs tall and ten TVs wide. Better yet the 24 TVs that make up the middle 6x4 area are touchscreen TVs that display an interactive draft board with digital nameplates. When Spielman and his team would like to discuss a group of players they simply tap the name on the draft board and send them over to the queue on the left side of the screen. From there, tapping on a single players names engages the remaining 8 screens on either side where a players stats are displayed on one side on the other a players game film kicks in and starts playing! So with the touch of the button they can analyze, watch and move a player higher or lower on their draft board.
The Hydro Room
At Winter Park the Vikings had a hot tub and a cold tub, but they might have fit four grown adults at a time. On top of that they were essentially "above ground pools" where the players, injured and battered, had to climb up a ladder to get rehab in the tub.
The new Hydro Room at TCO showcases a large 15-20 person hot tub, the same size cold tub, five immersion tubs, a Cryo Therapy chamber and an underwater treadmill that adjusts depth based on your height. The underwater treadmill also gets up to 8.5 mph and has five underwater cameras to study the underwater gate of injured and healthy players. There is also a lift that will hoist in injured players that cannot enter the tubs on their own.
The Team Meeting Room/Auditorium
At Winter Park, the designated meeting rooms were not large enough to host full-team meetings with the entire roster at the same time. To fix this, a temporary meeting room was installed in southwest corner of the field house. That area seated 108 people at tables but it covered a portion of the south end zone on the indoor facility rendering that end of the field useless for practice.
Move over to TCO and the team showed off their 174 seat team meeting room/auditorium which felt more like a stadium seating movie theater and college lecture hall than a team meeting room. It's armed with stadium seats, and the seats are extra large and battle tested to fit even the biggest offensive or defensive linemen that might make their way to Minnesota. On the front wall of the auditorium, there are three white garage door panels that can open up giving way to the Vikings Entertainment Network television and radio studios allowing the VEN to host live studio audience video recordings or live radio broadcasts with a studio audience on hand.