Vikings put the ‘giving' in Thanksgiving

Several Vikings are using their "day off" to help others in the community, from a massive turkey giveaway to hosting a Thanksgiving meal at the U of M Amplatz Children's Hospital.

As Thanksgiving approaches in two days, we are reminded of the meaning of the holiday and helping those who are in need. The Vikings have always been at the forefront of charitable giving among pro sports franchises in Minnesota and, as John Sullivan hosts an early Thanksgiving meal at the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital Tuesday, a revered milestone will be surpassed.

The Vikings announced Monday that 75 grants to area nonprofit organizations totaling $488,000 had been awarded. That brought the total amount of donations through the Vikings Children's Fund to the $10 million mark.

Of that total, $4 million has been donated since the Wilfs bought the Vikings in 2005. In a statement, Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf said the VCF was something that has been part of the fabric of the Vikings organization and embraced by the Vikings family since his family took ownership of the team."

"Vikings players, coaches and staff have always understood and believed that having a commitment to the community is a crucial part of being a member of the Minnesota Vikings organization," Wilf said. "We are extremely proud to reach the $10 million milestone with the Vikings Children's Fund and we look forward to continuing to support these important children and family-related causes throughout the state and the Upper Midwest."

The milestone will be acknowledged at Sullivan's annual Thanksgiving event for the patients and their families at Amplatz Children's Hospital, which is a leader in the research, treatment and care of critically ill children. The event will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. today at the Amplatz facility at the U of M.

The VCF was a pioneer in the power of collective giving from professional sports franchises. It was established in 1978 as a means for the Vikings players, coaches, front office and their families to focus their community fundraising efforts to helping children.

Sullivan and teammates Matt Kalil, Jerome Simpson, J'Marcus Webb, Jeff Baca and Joe Banyard will visit with the children at the hospital and deliver meals to those children who are unable to attend the group meal because they are confined to their rooms. The event often brings smiles to faces of kids to which smiles aren't guaranteed.


Kevin Williams will host a turkey giveaway Tuesday at the Cub Foods located at 2850 26th Ave. S. in Minneapolis. The turkeys and other Thanksgiving-meal staple foods will be distributed from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday. It is an event that was started by former Viking E.J. Henderson and Kevin Williams has picked up the ball to continue the tradition of giving families who might not otherwise have a turkey dinner a chance to properly celebrate the Thanksgiving Day holiday.


Coming off his impressive game Sunday, Adrian Peterson has vaulted to the No. 2 spot in the rushing title – his highest ranking this season. Peterson has 997 rushing yards and trails only Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy (1,009). The Vikings will play the Eagles at the Metrodome Dec. 15. The league rushing title may well be on the line in that game.


Minnesota native Jerry Seeman, a former NFL referee and later head of officials, passed away Sunday night after a three-year battle with cancer. Seeman spent recent years as a regular at the Metrodome in a capacity dealing with the officials on the field. Widely viewed as one of the best officials and nicest people in the business, Seeman was both respected and admired for a job that doesn't typically get a lot of pats on the back and congratulatory handshakes for a job well done. R.I.P., Jerry.

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.

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