Vikings stop tops sports visits

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When traveling, I like to at least see the outside of stadiums of pro and college teams.

Our recent vacation gave me the opportunity to take a look a few teams’ stadiums and headquarters.

Our first visit was to the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Camp Randall Stadium fills up every fall when the Big Ten’s two-time defending champion Badgers take to the field. The stadium’s grounds were once a military site during the Civil War.

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Camp Randall Stadium was built in 1917 and currently seats more than 80,000 football fans.

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The Badgers were once coached by a former Nebraska Cornhusker. Barry Alvarez, the current athletics director, is the all-time winningest coach in Wisconsin football history. The former Husker linebacker finished his coaching career with a record of 118 wins, 73 losses and 4 ties. His teams won three B1G conference titles in 15 seasons as the head coach. IMG_8367

Next on our trip was a view of Miller Park in Milwaukee. The home to the Milwaukee Brewers of the National league was opened in 2001. It has a retractable roof, which allows the team play outdoor games, as well as indoor games in case of inclement weather.

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The main attraction for me was the statue of the greatest true home run hitter of all-time – Hank Aaron. Aaron played in Milwaukee twice during his career, with the Braves who later moved to Atlanta) and with the Brewers at the end of his career. Hammerin’ Hank hit 755 home runs, surpassing Babe Ruth as the all-time home run king in 1974. Barry Bonds later finished as baseball’s home run king, during the steroid-tainted era. IMG_1343

Robin Yount, another great Brewer, has his statue near Aaron’s.

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On the drive north from Milwaukee to the Yooper (Upper Michigan), we stopped in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We checked out the outside of Lambeau Field, as well as the fan area – Lambeau Field Atrium. There was a tour of Lambeau going on during our visit, but as a Minnesota Vikings fan, I could not stomach, err, justify taking it.

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IMG_2495Instead, I wanted to get a couple of photos of Curly Lambeau (founder and first coach of the Pack) and Vince Lombardi. Lombardi coached Green Bay to five National Football League titles. I appreciate the historical significance of these two coaches, as well as the field. IMG_2477

To cap our vacation, we stopped at the headquarters of my Minnesota Vikings. Winter Park in Eden Prairie is the home of the Vikings’ operations.

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We checked out the Viking ship in the parking lot, as well as the lobby area. The Vikings have a showcase of footballs marking each season’s won-loss record and how the team finished.

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I saw the football from 1970, when I first became a fan of the Purple and Gold. IMG_8762

Minnesota plays its final season at the Mall of America Field (AKA Hubert H. Humphrey MetroDome) in 2013. The new stadium will open in 2016. In-between, the Vikings will play two seasons at the University of Minnesota football stadium. I’ve been to the Dome several times, so there was no need to stop by this time. Perhaps, I will plan a trip up north in the fall to give it one last glance.

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