Farmington football to play Eagan at new Minnesota Vikings facility
The Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) announced today that the Farmington Tigers' football team will play in the first-ever high school game at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. The TCO Performance Center is the home of the Vikings' new practice facility which includes a turf stadium that can seat 6,000 fans. Farmington will face off against Eagan (the home team) on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
The Vikings will host five high school games this fall. Farmington and Eagan will be the first, followed by Prior Lake and Lakeville North on Oct. 12. Three state tournament quarterfinal games will be played there as well.
Representing Farmington at the announcement today following the Vikings' walkthrough were athletics/activities and facilities director Bill Tschida, head coach Adam Fischer and players Adam Weed, Jameson Shrum and Luke Grengs. Tschida said the possibility first came up about a month and a half ago.
"I would say, probably a month and a half ago, I got an email from Bob Madison from the state high school league and they mentioned that they were working on this and that they would get back to me," he said. "Then probably three or four weeks ago they confirmed that it was going to happen, but we had to keep it on the down low. So the only people who knew were the coach and myself. Now after today it's going to be exciting to tell the community and get them excited about it."
Fischer found out from Tschida after Tschida received the final confirmation, but like Tschida said, had to keep it secret until Tuesday. He said that he told the three players what was happening on their way to the facility.
"I got called into the AD's office about three or four weeks ago I think," he said. "Really excited about it obviously but haven't been able to tell anyone. I just told the players this morning on the way up here, they didn't even know it until then. It's just been one of those things where you can't wait to share because we're really, really excited about the opportunity. I see it as a win-win for our community, for the young kids to come out and watch what Friday night lights can be like, I think that's going to encourage future Tigers to come out and be involved in football."
Weed, Shrum and Grengs were dressed in their jerseys representing the team and even got to have a word with the Vikings' new quarterback Kirk Cousins. They said that they are most looking forward to walking out of the tunnel with their teammates to a screaming crowd and having access to such a nice facility. All three received a tour of the stadium, which is turf like the Tigers' home field, and used one word to describe it, "huge".
There had been rumors over the past few weeks that high school games could be played at the TCO Performance Center, but one of the road blocks speculated about was if the home teams would be willing to giving up the revenue from the games. As the away team, Farmington will be able to avoid such concerns, and like Fischer said, they believe this will help increase the visibility of the program and promote it their own community.
Bob Madison, associate director from the MSHSL, and Kevin Warren, the Vikings chief operating officer, both said that they are eyeing expansion in the future, both in terms of weekly football games and perhaps even other sports being played at the facility.
Farmington opens their season on Friday, August 31, at home versus Woodbury. Their game against Eagan at the TCO Performance Center is week six and very well could have a significant impact on the playoff picture.