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Other View: Mankato setting right tone for Vikings camp

With Vikings players reporting tomorrow for training camp, the right tone has been set to make the team’s 50th year in Mankato memorable.

The tourism bureau Visit Mankato, businesses and the community have put together a number of events that should be good for fans and the team. Helping start the narrative last week, the Blue Earth County Historical Society opened its “50th anniversary Vikings Training Camp” exhibit, showcasing memorabilia from local Vikings fans.

Two Vikings alumni, defensive back John Swain and running back Dave Osborn, made appearances at the opening reception for the exhibit. Fans contributed their memorabilia for display.

The Free Press book “Skol!Vikings 50” also will be available at the historical society, Barnes & Noble and the Free Press. The book includes hundreds of photos taken over the years by Free Press photographers at Vikings Training Camp.

Visit Mankato plans a big opening party 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday near the Memorial Library as players arrive. Fans will have a chance to meet Vikings cheerleaders and get autographs from players. Food and drinks will be served, and there will be games and giveaways.

Visit Mankato also has set up a Vikings spirit contest for businesses to show the most Vikings spirit. Viktor the Vikings mascot will judge the entries, and the top five winners will get Vikings memorabilia.

The 50th anniversary will give fans an opportunity to dive into all things Vikings in Mankato, and the team itself is offering more promise this year for a winning season.

While Mankato fans have seen the Vikings come and go for 50 years, this year is likely to be more exciting.