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Vikings broaden prep vision to include pre-season scrimmage at Eagan facility

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 02/14/18, 6:30PM CST


The team wants to hold a multiple-team scrimmage at its Twin Cities Orthopedic stadium on Aug. 25.

The Eagan facility is set to open in March. Photo: Leila Navidi * leila.navidi@startribune.com

With the Super Bowl now a memory, Lester Bagley, the Minnesota Vikings executive vice president of public affairs and stadium development, is renewing the team’s push to showcase high school football.

The team previously made public its desire to hold high school games in the 2018-19 school year at Twin Cities Orthopedic (TCO) Stadium, its 6,000-seat, synthetic turf venue in Eagan to be completed June 1.

But before turning on the Friday night lights, the team wants to hold a multiple-team scrimmage on Aug. 25, Bagley said Wednesday. Participating teams have not been discussed.

“This week we’re having internal discussions then it will be time to roll up our sleeves,” said Bagley, who is hoping in the next 30 to 60 days to hold further discussion of “economics and shared opportunities” with Minnesota State High School League officials.

A key challenge for moving regular-season games to Eagan includes determining how to compensate host schools for lost gate revenue that, for some larger metro schools, can exceed $10,000 per game.

Last year team executives presented their “Minnesota Friday Night Lights” concept of regular-season rivalry football games — broadcast to a statewide television audience — to the league’s board of directors.

The Vikings remain interested in hosting playoff games for football, soccer and lacrosse.

Bagley said the team’s vision is not modeled after any other state but added “however this looks, it has to be a fit for Minnesota.”

In other football news, the high school league will conduct a Minnesota football summit in May. Topics include player safety and the success of community’s youth football progression models from touch or flag football to when to introduce tackling. Associate director Bob Madison said a host site has not been finalized.

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