Eden Prairie, MN (March 1, 2016) – The Minnesota Vikings announced today that Jim Marshall and Matt Blair will join Carl Eller as former players who have been commissioned to help create a one-of-a-kind art collection within U.S. Bank Stadium.
Known as an avid photographer during and after his playing days, Blair had the behind-the-scenes access and a keen photographic eye that ultimately led to his capturing a rare glimpse of Vikings history. His photos will provide fans with a unique and poignant view into one man’s career and the team for which he played.
Referring to himself as the Silver Eagle during his 17-year career with the Vikings, Marshall repeatedly drew an eagle on his playing gear that eventually became synonymous with the Viking legend. His inspiration came during his research into medieval Vikings of Scandinavia, in which he discovered Odin’s raven, which flew high on the flags of Viking longships and became a symbol of power during the centuries of Viking conquests. The ferocity resonated with Jim and he began to fashion his own version of the symbol that adorned training camp bibs, gloves, and pants. Marshall has agreed to recreate the Silver Eagle for the U.S. Bank Stadium collection.
Eller, who was one of the original 34 local artists announced last fall, has a passion for ceramic artwork, using his own techniques, concepts and inspirations when working each piece of clay on his potter’s wheel. He will be creating a personal piece for U.S. Bank Stadium, paying homage to the Land of 10,000 Lakes by drawing inspiration from his many years of fishing and spending summers on the lake.
“We are incredibly proud to honor these three men who played a significant role on the field for the Vikings and have maintained a deep connection to the organization following their successful football careers,” said Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren. “Their inclusion in the U.S. Bank Stadium art collection recognizes their artistic skills and emphasizes our commitment to showcasing and celebrating the history of the Vikings and the State of Minnesota.”
Through the partnership with Sports & The Arts, the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority have now selected 44 total artists, including 36 from Minnesota. Together the group will contribute to a privately-funded collection that will encompass more than 500 original artworks (including photography) and showcase not only the Vikings, but also Minnesota sports and other regional history.