Wounded Warriors, former Vikings players face off for good cause

The Vikings aren't playing the Super Bowl, but on Wednesday, a few former players got back on the field to raise money for local disabled veterans.

Hosted at Concordia University’s Sea Foam Stadium in St. Paul, the “Tribute to Heroes Game of Honor” put the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team’s 17-game winning streak on the line against the Minnesota NFL alumni and QB Legends squad.

The friendly competition was organized by local athlete Dave Stevens and is now in its seventh year. Stevens, who was born without legs, played football at Augsburg and played baseball for the Saints.

“It’s amazing to get the guys that come out,” said former Vikings player Rich Gannon.

As the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team warms up, Adam Warden is pumped for his first chance for some touch football against NFL and Vikings alum - and one hall of famer.

“It’s amazing on that fact that these guys get out there and do what they do,” said Carl Eller, former Vikings player and football Hall of Famer.

"I tell ya, I’m a little intimidated. I’m a little nervous. I haven’t played in one of these and I know how good these guys are," Gannon said.

After getting out of a tour in Iraq relatively unscathed, a tree fell on Adam Warden several years ago. Failed surgeries eventually led to his leg being amputated.

“When something like this happens, you don’t know what you don’t know,” Warden said.

For his teammate Jeremy Stengel, this pre-Super Bowl flag football charity game serves as a good distraction; today marks the 11th anniversary since the humvee he was in was hit by an IED in Afghanistan, when two of his fellow Marines were killed. 

“It’s indescribable because being here on my anniversary date with other guys - who have been through similar instances – I don’t feel as shut off from the world as I would usually feel,” Stengel said.

The mission of the game is to highlight the perseverance of America’s active and retired service members. 

“To have all these people here, that’s what it’s all about. And when they see these guys playing with one arm, or one leg, or no legs, it just shows them you can do anything, you can come back,” Dave Stevens said.

All the proceeds stay local and help disabled veterans right here in Minnesota. By the way, the Warriors beat the NFL team 63-25.