When the Vikings play Dallas in the colossal AT&T Stadium Sunday, there will be a decided Vikings flavor in the crowd. The Vikings have nine players on their roster that are native Texans – Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Brian Robison, Charlie Johnson, Andrew Sendejo, Culler Loeffler, J'Marcus Webb, Chase Ford and Joe Banyard.
As expected, Peterson will have the most friends and family in the crowd. He's already purchased 62 tickets for family and friends to mark his first game in Dallas since 2007.
"I'm going to have a lot of people there," Peterson said. "This is the first time we've played in Dallas since my rookie year, so I blessed the family with some tickets to enjoy it."
Peterson bought even more tickets for family and friends last year when the Vikings played in Houston, but the numbers dropped to 62 because not everyone can make the trip to Dallas this weekend.
There is something to be said about playing in front of family and friends that watched you play as a high school and college star, and Peterson admitted it will mean something to him to have his family there.
"I'd be lying to say it didn't mean something," Peterson said. "Any time you play at home and play against the Cowboys, the team I grew up watching and liking – my hometown is an hour and change from there – it's still another game, but then again, I'll have family there."
The biggest problem for some of the players has been the high school friends who have been hitting them up for free tickets, being under the impression that players can get tickets at any time for nothing, which isn't true.
"I've been hearing from a lot of friends from back home, saying, ‘Hey, I'm going to try to make it to the game … if you have a ticket,'" Sendejo said. "A lot of people just think we get free tickets to pass out to everybody. I do have a lot of family going, so I had to hit up about 20 tickets for the games."
Some players had their families preemptively get the job done on their own. Ponder had to pick up some tickets, but, he also has industrious parents who took action when single-game tickets went on sale for the 2013 Cowboys to meet the need for family and friends.
"I didn't have to get that many," Ponder said. "When my parents found out that we were going to playing in Dallas, they went through some other avenues a while back to get a bunch. I got a few, but there weren't many left after Adrian cut through it. He got a lot. He's going to have half of Texas there for him."
Some players got their home-state obligations out of the way last year when the Vikings played the Texans. Loeffler said his ticket requests were minimal because he shouldered the weight of buying tickets last year.
"I only had to get a couple this time," Loeffler said. "We hit Houston pretty hard for tickets last year, so most of the people took care of them themselves this time. I'll have some family there, but I didn't get hit up for tickets this time like I did last year."
Even practice squad running back Joe Banyard has been asked for tickets. He won't be playing in the game, but that doesn't matter. His friends and family still want to be part of the show and believe that he can be their ticket to getting seats.
"I can't tell you how many people have asked – numerous times," Banyard said. "You've got family and friends, everybody wants to be a part of it. Anything they can do to get a ticket, they're going for it because they want to be a part of it. I don't blame them it all. I'd be doing the same thing if it was a family member coming down to play the Cowboys. I don't have an exact number yet. I'm still working on it. I just want to make sure I have enough to get the family in there."
With all the ticket requests from Vikings fans, you would think there would be a lot of purple in the crowd Sunday. Not so fast, my friend. It would make sense that Peterson would have his family and friends cheering for him, especially when he laid down the cash to buy 62 tickets. But even then, Peterson said they are Cowboys fans first and likely won't be cheering for the Vikings, even though he facilitated getting them into the game.
"It is what it is," Peterson said. "I don't really get into that much. Some of them I'm sure are going to root for me as well, but, if the Cowboys win, that's what they're going to be hoping for."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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