As we near Veteran’s Day on Monday, there will be an increased awareness of the vital role our military plays in the life and well-being of our country, as well as those who work behind the scenes to support the military and the sacrifices they make.
This week, Jared Allen has been named as one of the nominees for the Second Annual NFL Salute to Service Award, which honor people that have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community, as administered by the league’s official military appreciation sponsor the USAA (United States Automobile Association).
Earlier this year, the inaugural Salute to Service Award was given to Titans owner Bud Adams, a World War II veteran and longtime advocate of the servicemen and servicewomen throughout the country at nearby Fort Campbell. Adams has hosted more than 11,000 troops at Titans games.
This year’s finalists include Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson and head coaches Mike Smith, John Harbaugh, Ron Rivera, Gary Kubiak, Mike Mularkey, Joe Vitt, Tom Coughlin, Jeff Fisher. Players nominated include Allen, Charles Tillman, Joe Thomas, Pat McAfee, DeSean Jackson, Troy Polamalu and Darrel Young.
The USAA provides insurance to more than 9.3 million members of the military and their families. USAA membership is open to all who are or have served honorably in the U.S. military, as well as their families.
Allen’s nomination was due in large part to his dedication to his charitable foundation, Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, which makes homes accessible for veterans who return from war with debilitating injuries. On Friday, Allen hosted the Helping Heroes Gala, a black-tie affair to help raise money for his project.
The finalists for the second annual award will be announced Jan.13 with the winner being named Feb. 2 as part of the NFL Honors awards show.
As part of Sunday’s game, the Vikings will honor the sacrifice made by our military personnel, incorporating the crowd to do a pre-game display. The honorary gjallarhorn will be sounded by Betty Strohfus, who was one of the WASPs (Women’s Air Force Service Pilots) in World War II, one of just 1,000 women to hold that prestigious distinction. The Vikings will also have Sgt. Brian Neill, a member of the 134th Brigade Support Battalion, serve as an honorary captain for the pregame coin toss.
The Vikings released their final injury report and both Percy Harvin (ankle) and Letroy Guion (foot) were listed as doubtful. Guion took part in Friday’s practice on a limited basis, but Harvin missed his third straight day, making his participation Sunday unlikely.
After suffering from flu-like symptoms Thursday, Adrian Peterson took part in all of Friday’s practice and will start Sunday.
Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson returned to practice Friday on a limited basis and, according to local reports out of Detroit, will play Sunday despite a knee injury.
Detroit safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey, projected to be the starters this year before injuries sidelined them both, have already been ruled out of Sunday’s game.
Detroit defensive tackle Corey Williams has missed all three days of practice this week but is listed as questionable for Sunday.
Three other Lions – defensive end Cliff Avril, offensive tackle Corey Hilliard and wide receiver Titus Young are also listed as questionable.
A day after claiming he suffered nerve damage after taking a couple of big hits from the Vikings’ Harrison Smith and Chad Greenway in their Week 4 meeting, both the Lions and Calvin Johnson released statements saying that he didn’t have nerve damage or suffer a concussion. It would appear that since the league has been fining teams heftily for falsifying injury reports that the Lions are trying to get ahead of the Megatron situation in hopes that they aren’t relieved of several thousands of dollars of fines.
For the fifth time this year, the Vikings have waived defensive end Ernest Owusu. On Friday, the team announced that it had signed third-year pro George Johnson to the practice squad. Owusu has been signed and cut so many times that they haven’t removed the contents of his locker even after he gets released. The yo-yo ride continues for defensive end, but this time the replacement signing came from a player at his own position, which may be more cause for concern.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.