During a typical Vikings offseason, more than half of the team's organized team activities would have already taken place. Those have been postponed at best and will have to be cancelled if the NFL lockout of players continues too many more weeks.
Minicamps – both rookie and veteran ones – have been scrapped. Third-day draft picks never had a chance to discuss football with their coaches, and no free agents – veterans or rookies – have been signed since well before the lockout started in early March.
But while the labor impasse continues, certain charitable events continue. The two biggest for the Vikings are their annual playground build and their annual golf tournament that supports the Vikings Children's Fund.
The playground build is scheduled for June 3 at Northport Elementary School in Brooklyn Center this year. Similar constructions projects have taken place in Minneapolis and St. Paul in previous years. As is custom, the Vikings have joined with Toro and KaBOOM! – a national nonprofit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America – to construct a playground.
This year, however, it isn't looking like players will be attending. In past years, Vikings staff members have started on the playground construction in the morning while players had an organized practice at Winter Park, with the players joining Toro and Vikings staffers to complete the build after practice.
This year, Vikings alumni will be taking the place of current players, with John Randle, Chuck Foreman, Bob Lurtsema, Stu Voigt, Rickey Young and Matt Blair all scheduled to attend. While players and Vikings staffers, including coaches, are prohibited from talking directly during the lockout, the NFL confirmed that players are allowed to attend charitable functions even if coaches are also there.
Head coach Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff will join front-office types, cheerleaders and other employees, along with Toro employees and KaBOOM! organizers to build the playground that Northport Elementary students designed. The cost of the playground is being split by the Vikings and Toro.
It's unclear if any players will be attending the team's annual charity golf tournament, scheduled for June 8 at Rush Creek Golf Academy in Maple Grove, but most likely celebrity spots that have been filled by current players in the past will be taken by alumni because of the lockout.
The charity work continues, but the Vikings are opting to steer clear of using players for those efforts during the lockout.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.
Lockout continues; so do Vikings charities
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