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Legends Link Again for Minnesota Vikings Foundation Golf Tournament

PRIOR LAKE, Minn. — Blake Cashman will eventually be grouped among Vikings Legends, but on this day, riding alongside them provided a thrill.

The Eden Prairie native and former University of Minnesota linebacker returned to his home state this offseason and has soaked up the opportunity to join the Vikings and be active in the community. In addition to hosting a football camp earlier this month, he relished the opportunity to join alumni guests at the Minnesota Vikings Foundation's Golf Tournament presented by Molson Coors.

"I was just putting my stuff in my cart, and right next to me is Ben Leber," Cashman said during a media interview before the tournament began. "He's a guy that I looked up to when watching him play. He's a great linebacker, so to see these Legends that have come through the Vikings building, it's awesome to see them here and continuing to support the Vikings and still be involved in the community."

Now 28, Cashman was 13 when Leber and the 2009 Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game, and he's also grown up familiar with the team's efforts to make positive impacts in the community.

"It's something that's absolutely necessary to do, and … I immediately wanted to get involved, and that's something I'll continue to do and give back because I think it's part of an athlete's responsibility, especially when you're from here," Cashman said.

He, Brian O'Neill and Andrew Van Ginkel joined more than 30 Vikings Legends as The Meadows at Mystic Lake hosted the Minnesota Vikings Foundation's Golf Tournament presented by Molson Coors for the eighth consecutive year. The June 11 event raised more than $300,000 to fight food insecurity and boost educational opportunities with special thanks to MV Ventures for their tournament sponsorship.

The Vikings Table food truck, which celebrated the fifth anniversary of its launch on June 13, welcomed the golfers as they arrived and served as a reminder of the Minnesota Vikings Foundation.

SCHEELS, Viking Lakes, Little Six Casino, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Molson Coors offered fun activities for golfers to play for chances to win prizes between holes.

View photos from the 2024 Minnesota Vikings Foundation golf tournament hosted at The Meadows at Mystic Lake.

Vikings Legends traveled from near and far to continue a legacy of players giving back to the community they helped foster during their playing days. Daunte Culpepper, Henry Thomas and Carl Lee came from Florida, Texas and West Virginia, respectively, for the tournament, which included the opportunity to joke with former teammates.

"It's always a pleasure to come back," Thomas said. "We have so much fun. We don't get to see each other because we live all over the country, but we get to tell the same lies with different twists. It's always fun. To be a part of the Vikings Foundation, just the money they raise and the help they're doing in the community, just to be a part of it and still come out and people remember when you played, it's a lot of fun.

"I tell all my friends in Houston, the only place I get recognized is Minnesota," Thomas added. "I can go somewhere in Minnesota, 'Hey, Hardware Hank,' so it's always lovely. I love coming back in the summer and enjoying all this."

Asked how his golf game had been tracking, Lee quipped, "I can't be any worse than Henry Thomas."

"It's worth even more to me, coming to Minnesota all the way from West Virginia just to do this, because if the Vikings are helping anybody, I want to be part of it," Lee said. "It's a great opportunity. I try to get back as much as I can, but I don't get back often. Events like this, you run into all your buddies and have a great time."

More recent teammates Anthony Harris and Kyle Rudolph, who were with the team when Vikings Table launched, appreciated the opportunity to reconnect for a cause.

"Everything happens so quickly. For me to now be able to look from afar and see the great work that Vikings Table and the Minnesota Vikings Foundation are doing, it's awesome," said Rudolph, who has been busy with Alltroo, the sports philanthropy fundraising organization he founded.

"This event particularly, it was always one of the ones I looked forward to the most when we were here for [offseason practices]: 'What day is the golf tournament? Perfect, practice is over early in the morning. We're going out to the golf tournament and going to have a good day.' It's fun to be back now on this side of things," he added.

Rudolph rolled in a birdie on Hole No. 17 and hit plenty of drives. He was helped by a special driver, with his son Henry at the golf cart's wheel.

While Rudolph and Harris are early in their post-playing career transitions, the camaraderie between generations of players is welcome.

"It's been nice coming back, seeing teammates, talking to different people from in the building and getting to interact with fans," Harris said. "I've had the opportunity to meet a couple of the Legends over the years, so to build with that group and network has been awesome."

Vikings Table has served more than 65,000 meals in the community since its inception in 2019, and the Minnesota Vikings Foundation has partnered with the Science Museum of Minnesota to implement STEM education through special field trips to U.S. Bank Stadium.

"In five years of work, Vikings Table has been a staple of the work we do at the Minnesota Vikings Foundation, serving healthy and nutritious meals to people who need it the most while providing nutrition education to underserved youth that are really growing and becoming the next leaders of our community," Minnesota Vikings Foundation Executive Director Brett Taber said.

"The mission of the Minnesota Vikings Foundation has been to focus on youth health and education," Taber added. "As part of the education piece, we recently partnered with the Science Museum of Minnesota to launch a STEM education field trip that leverages the power of sport, the uniqueness of the Vikings brand to help inspire kids about future opportunities using STEM and about the educational journey they are taking in school, applying what their learning in the classroom to on-field activities and hands-on activities they might experience at U.S. Bank Stadium, as well."