The Vikings connecting to the people in ways that matter.
The American version of football that we all grew up in love with, started way back shortly after the Civil War. It is developed across the US and has a strong heritage in Minnesota in the upper Midwest. As we all know, the Vikings became an organization in 1961, continued that heritage. This version of the team and organization values that and is going further to enrich that experience that is so dear to all of us.
In 2005 Zygi Wilf and his brother Mark Wilf purchased the Minnesota Vikings. They have made a concerted effort to involve the fans and grow the love for this game and franchise. Their first priority was to bring in quality players and to make sure the good ones get paid, all while upgrading the facilities, and pushing for the new stadium. During this time, they actively have become part of the community and participate in the many Vikings events from snowmobile rides, golf tournaments, showing off local artists, building playgrounds, bringing in women to teach them football, and building a greater fan experience.
This week, Kyle Rudolph, Linval Joseph, and Danielle Hunter are on a trip to Iceland. Iceland was the one that shared not only their Nordic roots, but a tradition that is morphed into the Skol chant. These three players meeting with locals and sharing the love of football to a country that loves its sports and was founded by the original Vikings. They are sharing in that “from us to them” type mentality. They are representing the modern day, game playing, version of the ultimate warriors of the North.
Continuing the tradition, the Vikings had their third annual Women’s Pro Camp back on June 11. Almost 250 women gathered Winter Park to hear from a variety of Vikings brass, coaches, players and legends, but mostly to learn about football. People can wrongly assume that this is a man’s sport. It is not. At this level it may be played by men, but it is very much a sport for everyone. It can be violent at times, entertaining that others, but it is wholly felt within society. That society includes all of us, and not just men. The Wilf’s continue to endorse efforts like this to grow this very important part of a lot of people’s lives, their friendships and their interactions with family on Sundays watching the game. The Vikings are one the few teams sees this and actively promotes it.
“I know how active we are as an organization in promoting women from within and being part of football – it’s very important to us,” Spielman said. “So to share that with these women [and] maybe the message gets passed down … that if their daughters want to be involved in the NFL, there are opportunities out there for that to happen.”
Growing up as a third-generation football player, I remember my dad motivating me to play the game. I remember my mother sitting and watching on game days, and the whole family being so encouraging and supportive. There is the gatherings with friends to tailgate, going to watch parties, or even a trip to the stadium to watch in person, that continues the rich inheritance of football given to the next generation, and in the process, enriches those relationships in our lives.
Whether it be at its beginning in 1869, through its evolution, or present day, football is making connections with people, and that is what truly matters. Thanking your family, the women in your life that enjoy it, or even the Wilf’s for making a concerted effort to continue in this heritage is priceless.
As they say in Iceland and with Minnesota Vikings fans, “SKOL Vikings!”