Holiday Happenings: Vikings Give Back to the Community 

It’s not uncommon for members of the Vikings to be active throughout the season on “Community Tuesdays,” an initiative championed by the late Dennis Green.

The philanthropic activities tend to pick up even during the holidays, however. Over the past week, many Vikings got out into the Twin Cities community and impacted countless lives through various activities and donations.

Kyle Rudolph and his wife, Jordan, continued their ongoing efforts at the University of Masonic Children’s Hospital, and Stefon Diggs gave former patients a unique gaming experience. At Hy-Vee, “The Chef” Dalvin Cook led a special cooking class for local young people. Below are additional community events the team engaged in this week:

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolphand his wife, Jordan, hosted 50 children from the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital for a “flight” to the North Pole.

Kyle Rudolph, Eric Kendricks were among the Vikings players to visit children and patients at the annual Christmas Holiday Huddle.

* C.J. Ham Family ‘Adopts’ Local Family for the Holidays*

C.J. Ham grew up being part of his local Boys & Girls Club in Duluth, Minnesota, and now is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the organization that so heavily impacted his youth.

When the elevator door slid open, five siblings – and their mother – were speechless.

Gifts wrapped in shiny red-and-silver paper were piled high beneath a towering Christmas tree in the lobby of Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. A dinner buffet was set up, five Vikings teddy bears lined a bench for their new owners, and holiday cartoons played on the large video screen on the back wall.

Ireana and her children – Tatyana, 13; Cory, 11; Myion, 10; Marrel, 9; and Myianna, 8 – were welcomed by C.J. and his wife, Stephanie, along with their 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Skyler, and newborn daughter, Stella.

The siblings are members of a Twin Cities Boys & Girls Club and met C.J. at a Saturday morning Vikings practice earlier this month. They also were guests of C.J.’s at U.S. Bank Stadium to watch the Vikings-Dolphins game.

On Wednesday night, the group started to feel like old friends. 

C.J. and Stephanie gave the family a tour of the locker room and weight room after a full dinner.

“Wow, it’s as big as a house!” Exclaimed Myion as he entered the locker room and immediately raced to find No. 30’s locker.

The three brothers quickly moved around to find their favorite players’ lockers – Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook, Linval Joseph – while Tatyana and Myianna more quietly took in the scene around them.

Vikings running back C.J. Ham hosted a family for a gift donation at the TCO Performance Center this week.

Then, time for gifts.

Each item was personally labeled for the six family members and ranged from clothing and gift cards to household items, toys and games.

Ireana stood to the side and covered her face in emotion.

“All of this is for us?” She asked, as C.J. came and put an arm around her.

Ireana later spoke to Vikings.com and expressed her gratefulness for the Ham family.

“I wasn’t expecting this. I never thought I would meet a Vikings star! He was very respectful and nice, and so was his wife,” Ireana said. “My kids are never going to forget this, and neither will I.”

At the evening’s conclusion, C.J. described his response “speechless.”

“I didn’t really know what type of impact we were making until I saw the kids and the mom open up the presents, and I realized it was really a special thing,” he said after a moment.

“It’s something that’s always been on my heart, to help others in some type of way,” C.J. added. “Being able to have the platform that I have now, it really makes that possible. I’m just happy I was able to bless a family with some of the things that I wasn’t able to get as a kid, and I know a lot of my friends weren’t able to get. To be that for somebody else means a lot to me, and I hope to do more.”

Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes hosted the Boys and Girls Club for a holiday shopping spree at the Mall of America on Tuesday.

Rhodes Purchases Gifts for Twin Cities Boys & Girls Club

Earlier this month, Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes visited the West Side Boys & Girls Club and unveiled his “My Cause, My Cleats” kicks that represented the organization.

He then followed up two weeks later to spread some holiday cheer.

Rhodes went on a shopping spree at the Mall of America and purchased Xbox’s, Bose speakers and an assortment of video games for each of the eight Boys & Girls Clubs locations in the Twin Cities. Rhodes then personally delivered the items to the West Side location.

Family Wins Shopping Spree with Rudolph, Pays it Forward

When one Vikings fan heard that she won a holiday shopping spree with Kyle Rudolph, she decided to pay it forward.

Sarah Walsh was randomly chosen from more than 2,400 entries for a shopping spree at the Mall of America with Rudolph. When Sarah was notified about being selected, she told the Vikings that rather than a personal shopping trip, she and her family would like to shop for items to donate to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

Sarah, her husband Tom, and their children Michael (15), Abby (12) and Joey (9) accompanied Kyle and his wife, Jordan, to the mall just before Christmas, and the group purchased toys, activities, pajama pants and slippers for the children’s hospital patients.

Joseph Champions Holiday Toy Drive

Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph is passionate about tackling bullying and supporting young people in the Twin Cities community.

Recently, he championed a holiday toy drive that benefited Vikings fans and local youth alike. Joseph teamed up with sports memorabilia store FanHQ for the effort. Fans were asked to donate new, unopened toys; in exchange, they were able to meet Joseph, receive an autograph and take a photo with him.

Joseph’s holiday appearance brought in more than 250 toys that were then donated to various local charities, including The Salvation Army and children’s hospitals.

Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen hosted his foundation's first Christmas Gift Donation on Community Tuesday.

Thielen Foundation Hosts Holiday Event for 10 Families

The Thielen Foundation adopted 10 families that are in The Salvation Army Northern Division’s Pathway of Hope program.

Adam Thielen and his wife Caitlin, who established The Thielen Foundation this year, purchased a wide array of gifts that addressed needs like clothing and cookware and wants such as toys and televisions.

Adam distributed the gifts, which had all been wrapped and placed under the tree inside the lobby of Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, to families with children ranging from toddlers to teens.

One boy literally jumped for joy as he opened a Batman-themed Lego set. A girl glided around the lobby in her shiny new shoes.

“It’s why you do this kind of stuff, to help them out at this time,” Adam said. “Christmas should be about joy, and we’re just trying to help bring joy to these families. This is my wife’s favorite time of the year.”

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook and Hy-Vee teamed up to host a local Boys and Girls Club for a "Cooking with Dalvin" event.

Stefon Diggsvisited with patients and their families at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital with a toy drive.