LONDON —The Vikings airplane ride across the Northern Atlantic Ocean was a little less than eight hours in the sky but served as quite the time machine.
Minnesota arrived Thursday morning (London time) and held meetings and a walk-through session on an **improvised 50-yard field adjacent to Syon House**, a castle that is more than 400 years old.
The scenic backdrop and historical significance wasn't lost on longest-tenured Viking Brian Robison, who is one of nine Vikings still on Minnesota's roster when the Vikings hosted the Steelers in London in 2013 (Adam Thielen was a member of the practice squad back then).
"I haven't traveled outside the country too much, but coming here the first time, you know, we think of 'history' in America as 1800s, 1700s," Robison said as a guest on the 9 to Noon show that "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen was recording from the team hotel. "That is historic to us. And when you get over here and realize that they're talking about 1300s, 1200s, and you're like, 'We weren't even begun yet.' I mean, that is nuts. It just really shows you how young the 'New World' is."
The 2013 trek across the pond involved more time overseas for the Vikings.
View some of the best images from the Vikings' trip to London, from both on and off the field.
Robison recalled seeing "some cool things" the last time around.
"We got to go see the Crown Jewels, we got to see Buckingham Palace, so there was a lot of events that we got to do, as well," Robison said. "But probably one of the coolest things that I was able to do when we got here was, where we were staying, it was kind of a ways away from London, and when you're driving down this little road that leads to the hotel, there's literally nothing.
"And then all of a sudden you pop up, and there's this building there," Robison continued. "It was called The Bricklayers Arms. The restaurant with the low ceiling. The food was amazing there … It was some of the best food that I've had, and it was just a great experience going in there and trying the local cuisine."
This time, the Vikings opted to practice at Winter Park on Wednesday before jet-setting overnight, essentially from sunset in Minnesota to a sunrise during the final approach that was soon hidden by clouds.
The 11-year veteran was one of several players who was in a "sleeping pod" for the extended trip.
"At some point it was either they gave me my own, or I was going to be sleeping in the same pod with [Head Coach Mike] Zimmer," Robison told Allen.
After the walk-through, Robison filmed his recurring "96 Questions with Brian Robison" feature for Vikings.com.
Other memories rekindled
Latavius Murray previously played in London in 2014 for the Raiders and returned five kickoffs a total of 112 yards. Murray did not have a rush attempt in what was his fourth pro game, a 38-14 win by the Dolphins.
Murray said the cows on grounds near the location of Thursday's walk-through reminded him of his high school field in Syracuse, New York. He also said the 50-yard gridiron "reminded me a little bit of Pop Warner."
"It's, I guess, not the greatest field conditions, a little rain and a little muddy, but it definitely brought back some fond memories," Murray said as mist became more of a drizzle.
Murray is coming off his first 100-yard game with the Vikings. He rushed 18 times for 113 yards and a score last week against Baltimore and is forming a tandem effort with Jerick McKinnon that has helped the Vikings average 146.7 yards per game in three outings since rookie phenom Dalvin Cook was lost for the season.
"We just want to complement each other," Murray said. "When either one of us is in there we want to run hard, make the O-line right and the guys on the second level miss. We're going to continue to try and feed off each other in that running backs room for sure."
McKinnon said the Vikings are looking forward to Sunday's opportunity against a Browns squad that has limited opponents to an NFL-best 2.96 yards per rush attempt in front of a new audience.
"I think it's big. I was talking to one of the guys the other day and was saying if you had told me I'd be playing a football game in London, I never would have thought so in a million years," McKinnon said. "It's a blessing to be here and play this sport. This sport has taken me a lot of places in life.
"I know it has for the other guys and coaches, so I think it's going to be fun to get out there in front of a different crowd," McKinnon added. "I've seen the other games they've played and how the crowds were. The atmosphere is going to be electric, so I'm soaking it all in."
The other side
Running backs are known for change-of-direction, but McKinnon took note of the change in traffic flow in England, compared to the states.
"When we got here, we were [driving] on the left side of the road," McKinnon said. "I was like, 'That's different,' but at the same time, it's neat, it's new. It's just a learning experience to see what else is out there."
Could he handle driving on the left side of the road?
"I don't know," McKinnon said. "I might need a day or two to practice, but I can get it down."
The Vikings held a walk-thru practice at the team hotel on Thursday, shortly after arriving in London.
For the Vikings: Kyle Rudolph (knee), Jeremiah Sirles (knee) and Stephen Weatherly (knee) did not participate. Nick Easton (calf) and Adam Thielen (hamstring) were limited. Riley Reiff (knee), Mackensie Alexander (hip), Tramaine Brock (hamstring), Stefon Diggs (groin/ankle), Case Keenum (chest) and Laquon Treadwell (toe) fully participated.
For the Browns: Trevon Coley (neck), Jason McCourty (ankle), Larry Ogunjobi (groin), Jabrill Peppers (toe) and Myles Garrett (concussion) did not participate. Kenny Britt (knee/groin), James Burgess (knee), Jamie Collins (shoulder) and Jamar Taylor (ribs) were limited. Sammy Coates (hamstring) fully participated.