EAGAN, Minn. - After two full weeks of training camp, Vikings fans are still exploring the team's new Eagan home, and businesses are working to assess its true impact on the community.
"It's so huge," said Brady Lynch, who made the trip from Sioux Falls with his family. "I've been going to Mankato since I was a little kid, so it's different. I mean as far as the fan interaction, the small town feel."
Lynch says he's still impressed and planning to continue his training camp tradition, which now includes a hotel stay.
For fans in the metro area, practices in Eagan are now more accessible, and less expensive.
"When we were in Mankato, I would have to hotel there and go out to eat," said Mariah Dowdle, who says her mom will likely take her again before training camp ends. "We live really close and it's really easy to get to."
Eagan businesses say the number of local fans, combined with all the concessions offered at the new facility, has dampened expectations a bit.
"I think it's been a little calmer than we were anticipating," said Samantha Brown, sales manager at Union 32 Craft House. "We have not seen a lot of large crowds. It kind of is a steady spurt of people within the area."
Still, Brown says lunch business has seen a noticeable jump and she says the Vikings have been a great neighbor. Despite the added traffic from fans, it hasn't been enough to scare anyone off.
"It's very well controlled in the area so we do see our regulars still," Brown said.
"No problems with traffic or transportation," said Maureen Scallen Failor, president of the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce. "People were kind of concerned about that but everything has been running very, very smoothly."
According to the Chamber of Commerce, economic impact will come into focus later, but there's no doubt the new destination has attracted new faces.
"When it was in Mankato, us and our friends never really got the chance to get down there, but since it's here, it's a lot easier," said Dara Ly, who says his first camp won't be his last. "Oh yeah, most definitely. I might even come back tomorrow. I'm going to try to come back tomorrow."
One reason why the true economic impact is yet to be determined, is that the Viking Lakes Development next to the team facility is still in its infancy. The area will eventually provide an additional 3 million square feet of space for corporate offices, medical, retail and multi-family housing.