Mankato happy to welcome back Viking$ for a 50th training camp

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In a town of 50,000 people, an extra $5 million goes a long way. And Mankato's about to feel that economic boost for the 50th straight year.

Some residents and many visitors will be decked out in purple and gold Saturday when the Minnesota Vikings arrive for the start of training camp.

The tourism group Visit Mankato has been using that $5 million figure as its economic impact estimate for a number of years. One city official tells the Free Press he suspects $6.5 or $7 million might be more accurate these days.

Whatever the specifics, it's a sure bet that people in purple are about to drop a bunch of green in the cash registers of Mankatans.

As the team and the city celebrate their golden anniversary together, the Blue Earth County History Center is offering a stroll down memory lane with an exhibit on Mankato and the Vikings.

The museum's curator tells FOX 9 no other NFL team has been training in the same city for 50 years.

Visit Mankato is encouraging local businesses to show their Viking spirit. In fact, Viktor the Viking will judge a contest to determine the most spirited workplace or office.

A post on the group's website also urges local businesses to try to make a good impression on the visitors – reminding them that in addition to what they spend in the next couple weeks, some may decide to come back to Mankato as tourists or perhaps as students at Minnesota State University.

MSU Mankato will provide the Vikings with their bread and butter during training camp – and a whole lot of other foods, too. The dining services director tells the Free Press they'll serve the Vikes 600 to 700 meals per day.

The Vikings won't begin practicing until Sunday but Visit Mankato is holding a public welcoming event on Saturday.

The group has a schedule of training camp events and a slideshow of vintage training camp photos here.

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