Vikings C John Sullivan visited the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital on Tuesday for Thanksgiving.
MINNEAPOLIS — John Sullivan, Vikings teammates, alumni and mascot Viktor brought warm thoughts and comfort to help sick children enjoy Thanksgiving this week.
The visit to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital features a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It is part of an annual tradition and a series of visits that also includes a Halloween Carnival in October and a December holidays visit.
Sullivan has undergone two back surgeries for an injury that's sidelined him all season, one that happened while playing a sport he loves, but he said that seems much less significant when visiting children that are fighting severe illnesses.
"Even though it's unfortunate and I wish I could be out there helping my teammates, when you come here and see kids going through so much, not just the patients but their families, the people tasked with taking care of them, it really puts the whole thing in perspective," Sullivan said.
"This is a time of year you associate with family and happy times and being comfortable," Sullivan added. "I understand this can be a pretty tough situation for these kids. We just want to come and brighten their day, maybe distract them a little bit and give them a little sense of normalcy with a Thanksgiving meal and just do whatever we can."
Some of the patients were in the hospital in October and are scheduled to be there next month as well. Others have been in and out of the hospital. One patient still had a hat autographed by Sullivan and others during a visit five years ago.
Sullivan was joined by Kyle Rudolph, Brandon Fusco, Nick Easton, Zac Kerin, Austin Shepherd, David Yankey and former Vikings Walker Lee Ashley and Bob Lurtsema.
John Sullivan and Vikings teammates brought smiles to patients at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children???s Hospital on Tuesday as part of an annual Halloween Huddle.
Sullivan sang a duet of "Let It Go" during a visit to one young lady's room. He and Rudolph also met "the girls," a few of the patient's dolls, bringing smiles to her face.
The visits are a longstanding tradition with the Vikings that have generally been led by offensive linemen, but Rudolph has appreciated the opportunity to join the group and add to his efforts at the hospital.
"I'm basically a lineman around work anyways, so it's fun to be around these guys," Rudolph said. "I always try to do as much as I can, especially down at the Children's Hospital."
Added Fusco: "It's good to put a smile on their face. The game we play, wins and losses, doesn't compare to what these kids are going through. It's good to come out, hear from these kids, learn their story and put a smile on their faces."