WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. – It's important to the Vikings to have boots on the ground in their community, and they took that quite literally last week.
Vikings players, executives and staff members teamed up with Polaris employees to help Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity build a new home for a local family.
This year marked the third annual "Build Week" by the Vikings organization and focused on a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in West St. Paul.
"We're here to help. We're having a blast," Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens said. "I can't say I'm the most handy guy in the world, but it's a great team effort to be putting a house together, and we're just here to help serve and build a house that's going to become a family's home."
View photos of Vikings players, executives and staff members and Polaris employees helping Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity build a new home for a local family.
Mullens and tight end Nick Muse worked together to measure and cut drywall for an upstairs room.
"Giving back to others, with the platform with we have, it's something we should do – be a helpful hand," Muse said.
He and Mullens were joined by teammates Ryan Wright and his fiancée Ashley; Greg Joseph and his fiancée Taylor; Dalton Risner and T.J. Smith. Vikings Legend Scott Studwell, who's a staple at any Vikings community event involving construction, spent the majority of the afternoon at the build site, as well.
Joseph has previously participated in Habitat for Humanity builds, and when he played for the Buccaneers, he volunteered for Paint Your Heart Out Tampa, a nonprofit that supports low-income, senior and disabled homeowners.
"A family is going to call this home one day, and it's special to be a part of that," Joseph said. "Hopefully something like this can encourage others to also get out and give back."
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity CEO Chris Coleman, who served as the Mayor of St. Paul from 2006-18, welcomed media members to the build site and emphasized the unique multi-partner relationship with the Minnesota Vikings and Polaris.
"This is a great day for Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity," Coleman said. "It's really important. We have thousands of volunteers that come out every year to work on houses across the Twin Cities area. And when the Vikings and Polaris come out … it's a real statement that this is an important part of our community and that it matters to folks at the Vikings, it matters to folks at Polaris, and it matters to the rest of the community.
"When we come together, we create futures for families that are in desperate need of stable, safe, affordable housing," Coleman added. "We're grateful for the players coming out."
Habitat for Humanity helps support families through collaboration. Homebuyers invest hours of their own labor, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners, in addition to paying an affordable 30-year mortgage that is sized to fit their income. They also receive financial education.
Vikings Chief Financial Officer Kate Shibilski, who also serves on the TC Habitat for Humanity Board, and Polaris Vice President of Corporate Branding and Partnerships Holly Spaeth shared their passions for the annual project.
"We're really excited to welcome the family into their new home and hopefully welcome them to a Vikings game, as well," Shibilski said. "Community is one of our strategic pillars at the Vikings. We love to be in the community, we love to support things that are important to our state … and we love to do it with our partners. We want to commit on the ground, not just on paper, and this is one of our favorite things to do."
Added Spaeth: "A founding element of our partnership with the Vikings is giving back to the community that we live and work in. Being able to impact that in such a meaningful way with boots on the ground is something that we look forward to each year."
Mullens appreciated the opportunity to spend part of his off day contributing to such an important cause.
"I'm always a believer that people need people," he said. "So whether you're an athlete, you're in the work force, whoever you are, you need each other.
"You can't do it alone; you've gotta do it together," Mullens added. "And that's what Habitat for Humanity and the Vikings are all about."