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Family Welcomes Newborn Just in Time for Vikings Kickoff


John Olson expected Oct. 4 to be a quiet Sunday watching the Vikings-Texans game.

But instead, he became a dad.

John's girlfriend, Liz Glasser, went into labor that morning at 35 weeks, and the couple arrived at United Hospital at 10 a.m. At one point, Liz noted, John asked about turning the Vikings game on if their son hadn't arrived yet.

No debate was had, however, as Walker made his grand entrance at 11:29 a.m. (CT), shortly before Minnesota kicked off what would be its first win of the 2020 season. At 18 inches long and 7 pounds, 1 ounce, Walker was deemed a "big boy" for being five weeks premature.

"Maybe a future linebacker," John quipped.

After delivery, Walker was immediately transferred to the NICU at Children's Minnesota.

"His lungs needed some time to develop, and his blood sugars were really low, too," John explained. "He just needed some extra help."

At Children's, John and Liz received a special Vikings Newborn Club welcome gift, which is given to all of the babies born on Vikings game days.

The gesture was a meaningful touch for John and Liz, who are Vikings fans.

John recalled watching games with his family from a young age, "probably 5 or 6, pretty much since I was able to understand what football was." As a youngster, he usually played NFL video games as Daunte Culpepper, and he later became a big fan of defensive end Jared Allen and linebacker Chad Greenway.

Walker stayed in the NICU for one week, where he received wonderful care from dedicated doctors and nurses at Children's.

"It was stressful, and obviously you never want to be in that situation, but given the circumstances, we couldn't have asked for a better group of nurses," said John of their time at the hospital. "They were awesome to Walker and took really good care of him. As a parent, that's really all you want and look for."

Walker was released from the NICU on Sunday, Oct. 11, arriving home in time for the Vikings Sunday Night Football game against the Seahawks.

John is looking forward to teaching Walker and his sister about football and carrying on family traditions.

"It's fun being a Vikings fan," John said. "It's such an interesting way how the season [plays out]. There's so many ups and downs – being a Vikings fan definitely keeps you on your toes.

"We're definitely going to raise Walker to be a Vikings fan," he added.