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Officials Plan "Draft Town" Experience for NFL Fans

Vikings fans will have plenty of activities to choose from if they opt to travel to the Windy City in eight weeks for the NFL Draft.

NFL officials are increasing the entertainment component for fans at the annual event that is scheduled for April 30-May 2 in Chicago after decades in New York.

Organizers are creating "Draft Town" in Grant Park near the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. The village will be a gathering place for enclaves of Vikings fans and supporters of other teams in areas designed specifically for all 32 clubs, College Football 24/7's Bryan Fischer reported for

"When we decided to move the draft out of New York for the first time in 51 years, it really gave us a chance to re-imagine what the draft could be," Peter O'Reilly, the NFL's senior vice president of events, told CFB 24/7. "Every year we can't really satisfy the demand for fans that want to be inside the theater, so now we're creating this Draft Town in Grant Park, just across from the Auditorium Theatre, in order to allow more fans to experience the excitement of the draft."

Representatives from all teams will be located in an area of tents near Michigan Avenue known as "Selection Square," but the announcements of the selections will occur inside the Auditorium Theatre.

The exciting atmosphere of the draft and the mysteries of which prospects are going to be selected when, the Draft Town will also have interactive displays, including a course on which they can run the 40-yard dash or kick a field goal through the uprights.

"We'll have a team area that's customized where fans of that team can gather, and we'll even have a combine-type setup where fans can run the 40 and pick a number of players to run against them on a screen alongside them," O'Reilly told Fischer. "Plus a lot of those great elements from the Super Bowl will be out there, as well, whether it be kicking a field goal or taking your picture with the Lombardi Trophy, or seeing the 49 Super Bowl rings. We'll have autographs with current players, and legends will be doing the same thing. And it's all free, which is great as a free and open experience that is family-friendly."

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