View images from the Super Bowl LII Masonic Children's Hospital Press Conference featuring Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen, Brett Favre, and Michael Floyd.
MINNEAPOLIS –Kyle Rudolph has spoken with plenty of media members and done a number of press conferences over his seven NFL seasons, but never one quite like this.
Rudolph helped host a "Kids Presser" at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital on Friday and fielded a number of unique questions from a room full of excited young patients.
"No offense to our local media, but that has to be the best press conference I've ever taken part in," Rudolph quipped afterward. "The kids were awesome. They asked insightful, thoughtful, I don't want to say 'hard-hitting,' but they asked really, really good questions. You could tell the interest from the crowd was there the entire time."
Rudolph was joined at the front of the room by Vikings teammates Michael Floyd and Adam Thielen, as well as Bills center Eric Wood, who is a childhood friend and high school teammate of Rudolph's.
And the special guest of the day? Former Viking and Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, who made his return to the Twin Cities for the week of Super Bowl LII.
"One of the questions was, 'Who's your best friend?' I was truly sitting up there with four of my best friends, and I joked around that I just met Brett and we could be best friends, too. I'm completely OK with that," Rudolph said. "I grew up watching Brett play, and unfortunately I missed [playing with him] by a year. His last year was '10, and I got here in '11. Would have loved to play with him.
"When I found out that he was coming out here to the press conference, I was extremely excited to get to spend some time with him and just really appreciative that he took time out of his busy schedule during Super Bowl weekend here in Minnesota to come spend with us and the kids," Rudolph added.
The press conference was moderated by KFAN personality Carly Zucker, who was kept on her toes for the entirety of the session as hands consistently shot up with new questions across the auditorium.
Questions were all over the board, ranging from "What's your favorite animal," to "Most embarrassing moment," to "Did you ever get detention in school?" – to which Favre joked that he attended high school before detention had even been implemented.
Many of the questions, however, were very football-oriented, such as, "Which play was better? Brett Favre to Greg Lewis, or Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs?" or "How many touchdowns have you scored?" One young man asked, "Who was your favorite person that you've tackled?"
While the panel was made up of offensive players who generally don't tackle, Thielen appreciated the question as someone who primarily played special teams for the first part of his career with the Vikings.
Thielen, whose answer was Chiefs returner De'Anthony Thomas, said it was the first time he's ever been asked that question.
"I've never thought about that before today. But I actually have tackled somebody in the NFL, so it was a cool question," Thielen said.
One of the young people said he had recently watched ESPN's *A Football Life *documentary on Vikings Hall of Famer John Randle, whom Favre played against many times during his years with the Packers. The young man asked Favre why he "hated" Randle, prompting laughs from those in the room wearing purple.
"I didn't hate John Randle. [But] I hated playing against the guy," Favre clarified with a smile. "He was unblockable, especially here in Minnesota. He was one of the quickest and most powerful guys that you played against. He and Warren Sapp would be the greatest trash talkers of all time.
"There are guys who talk trash and back it up, and those are the ones who just drive you crazy because there's nothing you can do about it," Favre continued. "I would tell our guys, 'Block him.' They would say, 'Yeah, we'd love to. But we can't.' And John Randle would be saying the same thing: 'It's going to be a long day.' "
Rudolph's favorite question was from a young lady who asked how the players handle difficult days in football.
"I immediately thought, 'What a thoughtful question.' And then I kind of felt bad because tough times in football fail in comparison to what [these kids] go through," said Rudolph.
When asked to identify his favorite superhero, Rudolph didn't answer Batman or Superman. Instead, he pointed back out at the crowd, telling the patients that they are real-life superheroes and are his favorite.
"They truly are super heroes – these kids and what they go through, and how they still come out each and every day," Rudolph said. "Every time we're here, you just see their bright smiles and the positivity and energy that they bring.
Rudolph and Thielen both said that an hour of time spent answering the young people's questions made a positive impact on them.
Thielen emphasized that he and his wife, Caitlin, want to focus on giving back to the community and especially to local youth.
"That's why we come here, because we know how important it is. We know this is probably one hour that they are actually really positive," Thielen said. "They're all facing challenges in their lives that aren't easy – not only on them but on their families – so for us to just be able to come and hang out, it not only helps them but it helps us, as well. It's a really cool experience for us, and it just puts a different perspective on life."