EAGAN (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Vikings are ultimately judged by wins and losses on the football field, but among their core values is connecting with the community and giving back.
The organization did just that Tuesday night with is annual Taste of the Vikings charity event. Hundreds of fans, team sponsors, players and their family were at the Vikings Museum at TCO Performance Center to give back to the Minnesota Vikings Foundation.
The organization raises money to promote the well-being of Twin Cities youth through nutrition and education initiatives.
The Taste of the Vikings moved to the team facility in Eagan after previously being held at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“To make sure that we connect and give back to the community, it’s one of our core missions. It’s what I love about being involved in the NFL, the opportunity to do that on a personal level,” said Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs for the Vikings. “We make a lot of difference in a lot of kids and families and people in need, in their lives. Just glad to be a part of an organization that pays attention to that.”
The Minnesota Vikings Foundation started in 2017, replacing the 39-year-old Vikings Children’s Fund. The Vikings Foundation started as a food truck to give nutritious meals to kids in need with the help of a $1 million donation from owners Zygi and Mark Wilf.
Vikings players, every one of them on roster, traded in their helmets and shorts for kitchen aprons Tuesday night. They helped serve food from various restaurants that partnered and participated. Players also gave time to pose for pictures and sign autographs.
“This is a lot of fun man. This is an event that we really love to come and do,” tight end David Morgan Jr. said. “You get to interact with fans and it’s in a safe environment. This is a night about having fun and raising money. This is a really good event, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Community service is something that’s become a norm for Vikings players. During the regular season, Tuesdays are off days for players when it comes to practice. It serves as a day for them to get out in the community and give back, whether it’s by serving a meal, helping build a playground or visiting sick kids in the hospital.
It’s also an opportunity for players to get away from the grind of football for a few hours.
“I think it’s big time. We have the platform to do so, and our fans are so great. Such loyal fans, so it’s awesome that we can get out in the community and do things like that,” linebacker Ben Gedeon said. “That’s what it’s all about, that’s why we’re all here. Just glad I can be a part of it.”
In addition to several Twin Cities restaurants showing off their signature foods, a silent auction was held featuring game tickets and several signed items of sports memorabilia. All proceeds from the Taste of the Vikings go to the Minnesota Vikings Foundation.