Things are about the heat up.
Yes, 2015 Verizon Vikings Training Camp is already off to a fast start for the Vikings. The Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, by virtue of playing in next weekend's Hall of Fame Game, were the first NFL clubs to open training camps. As the rest of the League is just kicking things off in their camps, the Vikings enter this weekend already five practices deep in their camp schedule.
On Saturday night, though, you can expect things to ramp up a notch or two. The Vikings will hold their first night practice of training camp, with the fan-friendly event kicking off at 7:15pm and scheduled to run until 9:15pm. Following practice, the entire team will be introduced to the crowd inside Blakeslee Stadium and then a fireworks show will follow.
The two post-practice events will be an exciting nightcap to the evening, but the football-relative fireworks will happen on the field. Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner is looking forward to what the atmosphere of a night practice can bring to the table.
"The history of it is, obviously, we get a great crowd here and it's the first time we really get to go out and be 11-on-11 in a little bit of a high-energy situation," Turner, a veteran of 31 NFL training camps, said. "I think you get to some high-speed football. It's good. It's a lot of energy, the first time under the lights and young guys get an opportunity to go out and try to show up and make something happen."
Many Vikings have been making things happen in the first week of practices in Mankato. Rookies like WR Stefon Diggs and TE MyCole Pruitt have impressed. WR Mike Wallace looks every bit the part of an elite deep threat, RB Adrian Peterson looks fresh and ready to roll, DT Linval Joseph has had a solid camp and LB Anthony Barr has said he's improving every day. Saturday night's practice will give many fans who attend their first look at these and other Vikings players and they'll get a look at the action under the bright stadium lights.
Although Turner is excited for the charged up atmosphere that will surely accompany the night practice, he's also maintaining the methodical approach that he knows is best when it comes to building up a team for the regular season.
"My number one deal with all our guys offensively is that they go out and they manage their game, they do their job," Turner said on Friday. "That's the number one thing in terms of getting started to being able to go play 11 guys together. People get caught up in is the ball complete, is it not complete? Did we get first downs, did we not get first downs? Did we score points, did we not score points? My emphasis is on these guys doing what we asked them to do.
"I've said it, we have a lot of guys who make plays and I'm not going to lose sleep if they make plays tomorrow night or don't make plays tomorrow (Saturday) night. I want them to go out and do things our way."