Peterson part of impressive red-carpet gig

Adrian Peterson and other Vikings were part of an impressive list of celebrities at the 10th Annual Starkey Gala, a benefit to provide hearing aids to underprivileged kids. It was the "A list" of Hollywood, politics and professional athletes in attendance, and that included Muhammad Ali.

Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald are the type of people that are asked to grant requests from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. On Sunday, they got to turn the tables, as both got what is likely a dream come true by sharing the stage with Muhammad Ali.

All three were part of the 10th Annual Starkey Gala, a fundraiser for the Starkey Hearing Foundation – a charity that raises money to provide hearing aids for underprivileged children throughout the world. Stars great and small gathered for the gala, which estimates have raised $6 million in a single night for the cause.

Sleepy Minnesota got descended on by heavy hitters from both the "A" and "B" list, turning the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport into TMZ Ground Zero. As such, even the local sports media became a little star struck.

Peterson and Fitzgerald walked down the red carpet and faced the flashbulbs of paparazzi. They were in pretty fast company. Former President Bill Clinton spoke. You don't get much bigger than that, although some will contend Ali is even bigger – a good argument to have at a fundraiser. Steve Martin, a giant in the entertainment industry, was there – but as a musician. Basketball legend Magic Johnson got A.D. and Fitz on the stage for the introduction of "The Greatest" to the crowd.

"American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks (in keeping with corporate requirements of sports-themed copy, the daughter of Giants cornerback Phillippi Sparks) was there. So was former boy-bander Nick Lachey, who, time being considered, clearly upgraded from Jessica Simpson to Vanessa Minnilo by those with the benefit of vision and reason. Ozzy Osbourne was there.

Not satisfied? Hey! Wasn't that Whoopi Goldberg? The Doobie Brothers were there – not sure why, but they were there. That surely meant more to fellow guest Brad Childress than it did Peterson or Steve Hutchinson, despite rumors the guard lifts weights to "China Grove." Paul Williams, an accomplished musician best known by younger fans as Little Enos Burdette in Smokey and the Bandit, joined the red carpet crowd. For some reason, Alan Kalter, the announcer for "Late Night With David Letterman" was on his shoulder for the entire carpet run. Sam of the singing group Sam Dave was there. Was that "Mini-Me" from the Austin Powers movies? Yep. Did Sen. Amy Klobuchar gussy up with a $29 dress from the Mall of America? You betcha. A fashion A.P.B. was issued and mysteriously cancelled in short order. Robert Loggia was there. Many have heard of him, but he doesn't even have a fawning, fattened Wikipedia page. Frankie Valli brought down the house with the Four Seasons – it's been a long winter.

Some big-timers stepped out to raise money for a worthy cause and several members of the Vikings family were on hand. Some were more interested in Ali. Others were more interested in the versatility of Tom Johnston. A good time was had by all and, more importantly, much-needed money was raised for those in need.


  • On the red carpet, Peterson reiterated that he expects Favre back in 2010, adding that, when he gets toward the end of his career, he will consider skipping training camp as well. Memo to A.D. – Favre is breaking new ground with the Vikings with this whole "blowing off training camp" thing. Don't anticipate similar treatment to anyone else … at least not with the Vikings and the Childress Administration.

  • Conspiracy theorists take heart! Much was made about wide receiver Dez Bryant being the first first-round draft pick to sign and being the first player on the field for the initial Dallas training camp practice. All is good, right? Nope. After practice, veteran Roy Williams told Bryant to carry his pads back to the locker room – a common practice with veterans and rookies. Bryant refused. Tick, tick, tick.

    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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