Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Vikings Surprise Glen Lake Students with Pep Rally & Donation for Inclusive Playground


MINNETONKA, Minn. – The last time Josh Metellus experienced a crowd roar like that, it was at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Metellus received deafening cheers and welcoming applause from Glen Lake Elementary school students Friday.

"I felt like I was coming out of the tunnel for game day," the Vikings safety said with a smile. "That was awesome."

Metellus and Vikings Ring of Honor/Pro Football Hall of Famer John Randle helped host a surprise pep rally – complete with the SKOL Line, Vikings cheerleaders and Viktor the Viking – at the school to celebrate the youngsters' incredible fundraising efforts for accessible playground equipment.

The endeavor began in January, when students came together to help create a more inclusive outdoor space for their peers who face physical disabilities and utilize wheelchairs.

Some may have considered the initial goal of $300,000 daunting … but the youth saw it as anything but. Since starting the initiative three months ago, Glen Lake students have now surpassed $700,000.

Their new goal? $1 million.

View photos of the Vikings surprising students with a pep rally and donation for fundraising efforts for accessible playground equipment.

"Our first phase, we'll be able to add two pieces of accessible equipment," explained Glen Lake Principal Jeff Radel. "If we get to a million, we'll be able to add multiple pieces of equipment, as well as rubberized surface for our entire playground so wheelchairs can go on it.

"It's been a roller coaster," Radel added. "When we started this, we figured our goal would be a few thousand dollars. Once some local news outlets got it, it's gone viral, and everyone's wanting to help out and contribute. It's really brought the community together and our state together."


Metellus was impressed by not only the passion but the incredible results, as well.

"I'm here to support the kids. I think what they did was amazing … I'm so proud of them," Metellus said. "They weren't really worried about how much money that actually was – $700,000, that's a lot of money – they were just thinking, 'Let's do this for our classmates.' "

He and Randle answered students' questions that covered everything from pre-game jitters, to what it was like for Randle to sack Brett Favre during his playing days, to what each first wanted to be when growing up.

Metellus shared that from early childhood into high school, he'd dreamt of being a lawyer. Randle said he thought for a while that being a musician would be fun; when he realized he wasn't particularly musically gifted, he opted for garbage man.

"They get great benefits," he explained, laughing.


Randle and Metellus even were asked what color toothbrushes they use, much to their entertainment.

"I have two – one for travel and one for home," Metellus noted. "One is white, and the other is blue."

Added Randle: "I also have two. Of course, both are purple."

(Insert another round of enthusiastic cheers here.)

The true star of the show, though, may have been Viktor. The beloved mascot got an even louder reaction from the young people, many of whom wore adhesive Viktor mustaches on their upper lips.


Viktor even did a dance off with Griz the Bear, Glen Lake's mascot.

"I love Viktor as much as those kids do. I think he just brings great energy to the team," Metellus laughed. "He shows up everywhere, and he definitely had these kids into it."

To cap off the afternoon's event, the Vikings had one final surprise: a $10,000 donation toward the accessible equipment.

Young people were all smiles as they posed for a photo with the giant check and special Vikings guests.

"Two words come to mind: pride and hope," Radel said. "So much pride in the group that they didn't take 'no' for an answer – there weren't any barriers they felt like they couldn't overcome. And hope that they see themselves and want to help others.

"It's that empathy piece that they wanted to do something not just for themselves; it's for their classmates," he continued. "They just see the importance. An organization like the Vikings that they know so well, they realize that what they're doing is beyond their school now and word gets out, so they just feel really, really proud."