Vikings Co-Sponsor All-Star Game

The Minnesota Vikings are the state's most talked-about professional sports team, but they are showing a renewed commitment to youth football in the state as well.

One of the things Zygi Wilf has stated over the past couple of years is that he wants to be a partner with the state in promoting football – not just the Vikings.

The team has made good on that pledge by co-sponsoring this year's annual high school all-star game Saturday at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud. The Vikings made a strong push to broadcast network FSN North to get the game broadcast live. The all-star game, which has been played since the late 1940s, will pit Metro All-Stars vs. Outstate All-Stars. The players, all graduated seniors, are almost all going on to play college football and the rivalry has become quite heated. Since going to the metro-outstate format, the outstate team holds a slim 14-13 advantage.

This year will mark the first time that the game will be broadcast live in the Upper Midwest. FSN North's Anthony LaPanta will do the play-by-play with former Vikings coach Dean Dalton providing color commentary. The game will get started at 7 p.m. local time.

In addition to pushing for get the game broadcast live, the Vikings have taken their commitment one step further. The Vikings cheerleaders will be on hand, a few current Vikings players are expected to attend and the team is bringing many of its inflatable items for use as a play area for kids and a Vikings tunnel for player introductions.

While some at the State Legislature have said the Wilfs only give lip service to being community partners with the Minnesota area, there was no provocation or push from anyone at the state to get the Vikings organization involved in the all-star game. According to organizers, the Vikings made the first contact and were instrumental in getting FSN North to make the game a live broadcast.

* NFL Europa, which has undergone many changes over the years from the time it was called the World League of American Football, is expected to announce its shut-down Friday. NFLE has produced many players that went on to have productive NFL careers, among them former Vikings starter and Super Bowl champion Brad Johnson. While the league had been reduced primarily to NFL Germany in the last couple of seasons, its passing will be more than just a "gone, but not forgotten" scenario. While not always profitable, the league served a purpose and gave players who may have never had a NFL career some valuable exposure.
* There is video up on the NFL's official website of Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson at the NFL's rookie symposium.
* From the "Quit Drinking the Blue Kool-Aid" Department comes this – just days after Lions quarterback Jon Kitna had his sanity questioned by much of the country for picking the Lions (who draft high in the first round every year for a reason) to win 10 or more games – saying he thought 10 games prior to the season, but after seeing it laid out, believes it will be higher – he's been trumped. Wide receiver Mike Furrey said Wednesday that he believes the Lions should win 10 to 12 games this year, adding they should be able to get it done "easily." Ouch!

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