EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —A handful of Vikings went hunting earlier this week to raise money for cancer research.
Offensive tackle Matt Kalil spearheaded the connection with the Arnold S. Leonard Cancer Research Fund.
Kalil was joined by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and offensive linemen John Sullivan, Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake.
"It's very hard to find someone who doesn't have a friend or family member who's been affected by cancer," Sullivan said.
The Arnold S. Leonard Cancer Research Fund raises money to support genetic engineering cancer research at the University of Minnesota bioengineering lab.
Leonard, a Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota, began his research more than 20 years ago.
"Very impressive guy," Sullivan said. "He claims that he's retired, but it's pretty obvious he's still involved with a lot of the research that they're doing.
"It was a real honor to meet him."
Added Bridgewater: "I got to talk to [Leonard] and I'm excited about some of the work that he's doing."
Sullivan said there were around 1,400 birds on the property including pigeons, pheasants and chukars.
Although it was Bridgewater's first hunting trip, the cause was near and dear to his heart.
"My mom is a breast cancer survivor," Bridgewater said. "So it was just great to be out there for a good cause."
Because he had no previous hunting experience, Bridgewater admitted some Vikings has some good-natured fun at his expense, especially since he wore stylish clothes under his orange hunting vest.
"Hunting in style, you know what I mean," Bridgewater said with a smile. "Coach Zimmer gave me a hard time. He said it didn't look like I was dressed to go hunting.
"He gave me some tips: shoot in front and wear orange so no one shoots me."
Sullivan, who's been a member at the club for seven years, said Bridgewater might have been a little out of place.
"I actually didn't even see him shoot," Sullivan quipped. "I doubt if he hit anything.
"Hopefully he's caught the bug, though, because it's addictive."
Bridgewater stopped by Winter Park on Wednesday and said he couldn't wait for the Vikings to be reunited next month for offseason workouts.
"I'm very excited," Bridgewater said. "I can't wait to get back but I've been in and out of town most of the time.
"I can't wait to have all the guys back around here and continue to build off something we started last year."