Several patients on the oncology and bone marrow transplant floors received a visit Kyle Rudolph and Michael Floyd.
MINNEAPOLIS –There were no tricks Tuesday, only Halloween treats for patients at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.
Several patients on the oncology and bone marrow transplant floors received a visit from Vikings teammates Kyle Rudolph and Michael Floyd, who stopped at rooms to take photos, sign autographs and spend some time with the patients and their families as part of Rudolph's "Halloween Huddle."
Floyd, a Saint Paul native, was recognized quickly by a few guests.
"Not too many guys are in the position that I am, able to come home [and play]," Floyd said. "And since I'm a hometown kid, it's always good to give back to [the community] I grew up in – especially something like today, where I'm here with teammates and enjoying time with the kids."
Rudolph and Floyd were joined by receiver Laquon Treadwell, tight ends Blake Bell and Kyle Carter, and offensive linemen Nick Easton, Jeremiah Sirles, Rashod Hill and Aviante Collins. Viktor the Viking and Vikings Legends Dave Dixon, Stu Voigt, Tuineau Alipate and Wes Hamilton also joined in the festivities.
While Rudolph is used to having teammates participate in his annual holiday hospital events, he was especially impressed at the support he had after the long trip back from London overnight Sunday and this week being a bye.
"It means a lot to us, but it speaks a lot of our team and the guys we have in our locker room," said Rudolph, who hosted the Huddle with his wife Jordan and their 1-year-old twin daughters, Andersyn and Finley. He said it was fun to include Floyd, who lives with the Rudolph family, this year.
"We always bring our kids, so of course we had to bring our third child, Michael," Rudolph quipped with a smile. "But no, he actually [came] here by himself earlier this summer and saw the patients; it's something he really enjoys doing, as well."
The roommates visited patients of all different ages and backgrounds. Among them were Jack, an eighth-grader and avid golfer; 7-year-old Landen; and 21-year-old Matt, who traveled from Detroit for the bone marrow transplant he underwent two weeks ago. Matt's room was decked out in Lions memorabilia, but he quickly changed into a Vikings T-shirt when the players walked into the room.
"He's smart," ribbed Rudolph, who chatted with Matt about baseball – his goal is to visit every MLB stadium – and posed for a photo.
"We call Matt 'Stretch,' but it doesn't really work anymore," said Matt's grandfather, laughing as he posed between the two towering skill players.
John, 27 years old and battling cancer, laughed and joked with the pair of teammates. His girlfriend patted him on the shoulder and told Rudolph and Floyd what a dedicated football fan he was – to that point that when John became short of breath Sunday morning, he refused to go to the emergency room until the Vikings-Browns game in London ended in a win for Minnesota.
"The thing about cancer," John said with a good-natured smile, "Is that it gives you a lot of free time. And what better way to spend it than by getting really into football?"
Sirles and Rudolph both talked about the way that the annual hospital events put things into perspective.
Sirles attended his third Huddle hosted by Rudolph and said it's something he loves to be a part of.
"Seeing the kids and the struggles they're going through, even if we're only in the room for two or three minutes, just to see their faces light up along with their parents' faces, it puts life in perspective," Sirles said. "I mean, to come down here and see what these guys are fighting every single day of their lives, and we're out there fighting to play football."
He added that he's proud to keep alive the tradition of Vikings offensive linemen being involved at the hospital.
"I think it just shows we're a tight room, and we all believe in a lot of the same things," Sirles said. "Much responsibility is given, and much is expected. I think this is just something that's not expected but that everyone in our room feels is the right thing to do, and we look forward to it.
"It's not a burden to come down here; it's something that you're excited to do," Sirles added. "I think that's contagious, and every year more and more guys are coming down. I just hope that one day our whole entire group is here at the same time."
Rudolph also gave media a hard-hat tour of the âKyle Rudolphâs End Zoneâ under construction at the hospital. The child- and teen-friendly space is scheduled to open in December.
Rudolph also gave media a hard-hat tour of the "Kyle Rudolph's End Zone" under construction at the hospital. The child- and teen-friendly space is scheduled to open in December.
Rudolph is excited to see the finished addition and put his family's stamp on the hospital that they've come to be so involved with. A year ago, he and Jordan brought the twins, who were just over two weeks old, and he explained how being a father over the past 13 months has impacted even more his dedication to the hospital.
"It provides a different perspective," Rudolph said. "Now that they're 1 and they've got their personalities that are starting to shine through, you go visit these patients, and no matter the circumstances that they've dealt with, you really still see their personalities. I think that's one of the coolest things and one the things I get the most out of here – meeting each individual patient and getting to know a little bit of their personality."