In just a few hours, the Vikings will invade Mankato once again to start training for the upcoming season -- and that always means a big boost in business for the city.
Fans will start trickling in on Thursday, but as soon as the players report for duty on Friday, a swarm of purple and gold will descend upon the town.
"You can go to the event -- you can see everything that's around when you are behind the scenes," said Joe Fritz, a volunteer who helps prepare the town for the upcoming invasion.
This year is Fritz's second for volunteering, and it's a much different experience than last year, when the lockout threatened the camp. This year, there is no doubt that the bleachers, tents, banners and merchandise area will be teeming with the team's fans.
"We're way ahead of schedule, and it's just a little bit more comfortable feeling -- less hectic," Fritz said.
Businesses are stocking up for the surge too.
"It's always busy for us," said Chris Werner, who has worked during training camp at Johnny B's for nearly a decade. "We're going to be working extra hours, so the money is definitely a lot better with training camp."