In a move that isn’t especially surprising, the NFL announced Tuesday that all 2020 NFL training camps will be held at each team’s own practice facilities and there will be no joint practices. These moves come in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic that has many states still in at least a lite-lockdown.
These changes don’t really affect the Minnesota Vikings too much as they would have held training camp at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota. For the Vikings, this will be their third training camp in the state-of-the-art facility after 52 years in Mankato. Some teams may have space issues with their current practice facilities, so they will have to get creative to fit an entire 90-man roster in a practice facility normally meant for walkthroughs in the regular season.
The Vikings go back-to-back this preseason with games in Cincinnati and Cleveland, so it may have been an ideal time. Both Cleveland and Cinncinati have ties to the Vikings with Mike Zimmer spending five seasons as the Bengals defensive coordinator and former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski being the new head coach for the Browns. The Vikings held joint practices twice in Mike Zimmer’s tenure as head coach, once with Cincinnati and once with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even if joint practices were an option, Zimmer seemed to be cautious about putting his team, that now has a ton of rookies and young players about to step into new roles, against another team before getting their technique down. This is per ESPN’s Courtney Cronin in an article from May 13 of this year.
These measures also seem to be the first step towards another year of NFL football despite the pandemic. It is likely that these training camps would have little or no fan access, and could be a test run to see how full team activities work.
There has been no indication if the NFL has plans to give fans more virtual access to training camp this season with these restrictions, but I remain hopeful of more team driven content and maybe some televised scrimmages