Minnesota Vikings training camp opens Friday for a brief 10-day practice schedule at Minnesota State University-Mankato. Owatonna's Todd Walkingstick will be there.

Walkingstick is a Vikings season ticket holder and is proud of his attendance mark at training camp. This marks his 24th year of going. During a 16-year span he missed only six days, and one of those was due to a kidney stone.

He says all Vikings fans should go at least once, and if they don't like it they don't have to go again. Walkingstick says you'll never get closer to the players than at training camp. He says it's easy to strike up a conversation since everyone is there for the same reason. He has met fans from Germany, Holland and Japan over the years and has taken pictures of more than 450 players.

Walkingstick says training camp is family-friendly, inexpensive entertainment. He regularly posts pictures and messages through his Twitter account @Purple_Stick.

The schedule for Friday through Monday is 10:30-11:30AM and 2:45-5:10PM each day. Tuesday, August 2, is a day off. View the full training camp schedule.

The Vikings made big news Thursday with the announcement of a contract extension for third-year head coach Mike Zimmer, according to a story on their website.

Walkingstick hosts a local sports interview show called "Beyond the Game" through the Owatonnalive.com website. The July 28 show features Owatonna High School graduates Meghan Rethemeier, Riley Thompson and Steph Kretlow.