The sunrise looked like it had a purple tint this morning as it shed light upon the football fields of Mankato. And it should as the Minnesota Vikings opened training camp today.
The land of Minnesota Viking fans is once again ripe with the pre-season enthusiasm. Every year the Vikings preseason starts with fans hoping for a long playoff run.
The majority of Vikings fans now do not remember when Minnesota won all their playoff games in 1970, 1974, 1975 and1977 before losing in the Super Bowl.
Maybe it is the Norse heritage of many Minnesota fans, but the Viking optimism always surges in August as the team opens training camp. The talk around morning coffee will often be Viking-focused, especially as the regular season begins in September.
There is room for optimism.
The offense has improved with players like Matt Kalil, Jerome Simpson and John Carlson. Quarterback Christian Ponder has a full year under his belt and running back Adrian Peterson has had a good recovery from his knee surgery.
The defense has changes with some new or returning players ready to contribute to the team. And there is a new young kicker as well.
Another big change is the Vikings got a new stadium bill through the Legislature and work has already started on that construction process.
After the 3-13 season of 2011, the Vikings have little room but to improve upon that record. It is unlikely a Super Bowl is on the horizon this season, but the team should be competitive again.
Ah, football season is near. Skol Vikings!