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Vikings Season Ticket Members Attend Exclusive NFL Draft Experience in Detroit

Vikings Season Ticket Members at the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit
Vikings Season Ticket Members at the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit

EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings made franchise history when they drafted J.J. McCarthy Thursday night.

Trading up to No. 10 to secure McCarthy made it the earliest Minnesota has ever drafted a quarterback, the previous being Daunte Culpepper 11th overall in 1999.

For Dennis Santos and 10 other Vikings Season Ticket Members, watching Minnesota pick McCarthy, and then Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner at No. 17, was made even more special by attending the NFL Draft in-person in Detroit.

"The experience was mind-blowing – 275,000 people cheering, yelling and getting fired up to celebrate their team," Santos said. "Sharing an incredibly positive experience where fans showed their pride for their own team while supporting each other and all the young men who became professional football players right in front of our eyes!

"It was a phenomenal and almost surreal experience that was hard to put into words, but one I will treasure for the rest of my life," Santos added. "I will always be grateful to the Vikings organization for letting me participate."

Santos, who became a Vikings Season Ticket Member (STM) in 2022, and his peers were selected by the organization and given the option to attend either Thursday or Friday's festivities in Detroit.

They were given seats in the "Inner Circle," a designated area accessible solely through team invitation that provided fans exclusive behind-the-scenes access within the Draft Theater.

A handful of Vikings Season Ticket Members attended the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit and were a part of the team's inner circle near the main stage.

Joe Pelovsky's grandfather became a Vikings STM in 1982 and passed on his love for the team to Joe, who has since inherited the tickets and has maintained the dedicated support. He expressed excitement over Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah's approach to the draft and especially the selections of McCarthy and Turner.

"We got a quarterback and, in my opinion, one of the best defensive prospects you can get," Pelovsky said following Round 1. "It's amazing what Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah] did tonight, and the atmosphere here was electric."

Steven Griffith, a Vikings STM since 2013, said the addition of McCarthy "provides hope for the future" at one of the sport's most important positions.

"Getting J.J. McCarthy when and how we did in the draft was encouraging," Griffith said. "And I'm a big believer that 'Offense scores points, but defense wins games,' so investing in a potential playmaker on that side of the football in Turner is obviously a positive move."

After Turner had been drafted by Minnesota and donned a Norseman cap, he took time to visit the Inner Circle area and interact with Vikings fans.

Eric and Dan Carpenter, whose family has had Vikings Season Tickets since 1966, were elated first by the selections and then by the opportunity to meet Turner.

" 'Giddy' may be the most appropriate word for the selections we made in Round 1," Eric said. "As the draft progressed and we made our way toward a starter-level defensive player, we were hopeful for Dallas but thought there was no way Kwesi and [Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell] could get him. To have those two work their magic and get Dallas in purple is amazing.

"We never thought there would be a day as a Vikings fan we would root for Dallas," Eric quipped. "He was great to come down to meet us as a group and take several pictures. We can't wait to see him [pressuring] Jared Goff, Caleb Williams and Jordan Love all season long."

View photos OLB Dallas Turner being selected as one of the Vikings 2024 first round draft picks in Detroit.

The invited Vikings STMs also had the opportunity to participate in three unique activities over the weekend. A designated number of fans were randomly selected from the group for each of the following:

Q&A Session with NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell: A unique opportunity for intimate dialogue with Goodell, providing invaluable insights into the inner workings of the NFL Draft

Tour of the Draft Theater: A behind-the-scenes tour offering a glimpse into the planning and execution behind one of the most significant events in football

Red Carpet Experience: A memorable moment for one STM, allowing him and his guest to walk the red carpet and soak in the excitement and anticipation surrounding the first round of the NFL Draft

Attending this year's draft was an experience Santos won't be forgetting any time soon.

For him and the other fans who made the trip, it was an added bonus to being part of the Vikings Season Ticket Member family.

"Ever since moving to the Twin Cities, I've been a fan of the Vikings and so happy to be part of that community," Santos said. "Becoming a season ticket holder has gotten me closer to the team and allows me the opportunity to join so many exclusive events – including this draft, which was honestly a life-changing experience.

"My seatmates at U.S. Bank Stadium have become friends, and the [camaraderie during games] is unmatched," Santos added. "I love the Vikings, and it really feels like the organization loves me back. I can't imagine not being a season ticket holder. I was attending all the games anyway, so this was definitely the right move."