EAGAN, Minn. — With the holiday season in full swing, Danielle Hunter performed a grand gesture this week for his former high school.
Hunter donated $54,000 to Morton Ranch High School so the football program could get new uniforms.
Julie Hinson, the principal at Morton Ranch, posted the news on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday in the Vikings locker room, Hunter said he’s been planning the donation for a while and was happy to see the positive response from the school.
“I’ve been working on that for a long time,” Hunter said. “They’ve had some jerseys that I don’t think were of quality. I just wanted to give them something to be happy about and build their soul up.”
Hunter is in his fourth season with the Vikings and is tied for second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks this season. He said he’s still a supporter of the Mavericks and plans to visit the school in the offseason in Katy, Texas, for the uniform reveal.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now,” Hunter said. “I’m the type of person that would never forget where I’m from.
“They are part of the reason I’m at where I’m at today,” Hunter added. “I started playing defensive end there, brought it to college and now I’m here where I’m at today.”
Hunter said his donation will cover three sets of full Nike uniforms.
“It’s home, away and then there’s a black jersey. That’s something that they’ll like,” Hunter said. “I wanted them to have new uniforms, especially the black ones. I know how players react when they see black uniforms.
“You look good, you play good,” Hunter added.
Beebe could make return to field
Chad Beebe was not listed on the injury report for Sunday’s game in Detroit, but the Vikings wide receiver wouldn’t say Friday if he was going to play or even be active against the Lions.
Beebe did say that he feels like his old self after battling a hamstring injury in recent weeks, and that he has a smile on his face more these days.
“At the end of the day, as a competitor you want to be out there. For me, it’s running routes and playing football,” Beebe said. “That’s what I love. Sitting out as a rookie isn’t the best situation either.”
Beebe played against the Lions in Week 9 and the Bears in Week 10 before getting injured in practice.
He made a strong impression in his NFL debut against Detroit with three catches for 21 yards, with two of those receptions moving the chains.
“First game, you’ve got some nerves going a little bit trying to get your feet wet,” Beebe said. “I was making a joke with some guys that I was just doing my job and catching the ball first, but I forgot to run after that.
“It’s just getting settled and getting used to the NFL game,” Beebe added.
Beebe joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent this spring out of Northern Illinois.
Abdullah on returning to Detroit
Sunday’s divisional matchup will mark the first time for Ameer Abdullah to return to Detroit since signing with the Vikings on Nov. 7. The running back was drafted by the Lions in 2015 and spent three-plus seasons with them before being released this fall.
Abdullah was asked if there’s any “special meaning” about going back to the place his NFL career got started.
“Definitely. It’s definitely a unique situation – not a lot of players get to do this. I’m [grateful] for that, first of all,” Abdullah said. “Secondly, I’m happy to play a good team. I think they’re a better team than what their record shows, and I think we’re a really good team. So just having another competitive Sunday is what I live for.”
Does Abdullah hope that he’ll have an explosive kickoff return at his old stomping grounds?
“That’s every week,” Abdullah said with a smile. “It’s no special emphasis because it’s Detroit. I appreciate every moment I had in Detroit, and I especially appreciate the coaches and the teammates I had there. But every week for me, I’m hoping that’s the one.”
Abdullah said he’ll spend “a little bit” of time catching up with former teammates at Ford Field, but he’s more concerned about the task at hand.
“I’m not really that kind of guy. I like to stay respectful to my teammates and to my team. Understanding that I’m here now. Understanding that we need to win this game, we want to win this game, we’ve worked hard, and we believe in the plan,” Abdullah said. “That’s the emphasis I’m bringing.”
Be on alert
Entering Week 16, the Vikings are fighting for a playoff spot while the Lions have been eliminated from postseason contention.
When the teams meet Sunday at Ford Field, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said his team will need to be wary of trick plays from Detroit.
“Yeah, I mean they could throw a bunch of reverse passes and halfback passes, things like that,” Zimmer said Friday. “But we just have to go out and play, and if we’re reading our keys and doing the things that we’re supposed to do, we should be good.
“It could be a bunch of zero blitzes, who knows. It’s important that we’re on point with everything,” Zimmer added. “Typically that gets back to focusing on your key and where you go from there.”
The Vikings have seen such late-season antics before, as Chicago scored on a fake punt in Week 17 of the 2017 season at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Bears were 5-10 at the time.