Enhanced COVID-19 protocols implemented by the NFL on Dec. 17 limited the opportunity of in-person interactions and holiday events, postponing some efforts by Vikings players. The below events occurred before the changes went into place.
The Vikings and SCHEELS joined forces for multiple initiatives that brightened holidays for others.
The efforts included the following:
· An all-day drive for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation with help from KFAN 100.3-FM
· Three $1,000 shopping sprees with Vikings players Camryn Bynum, Brian O'Neill and Justin Jefferson thanks to Caribou Coffee
· Helping Adam Thielen and Thielen Foundation sponsor families from The Salvation Army's Pathway of Hope program
· SCHEELS' donation of gift cards for families helped by People Serving People that Kirk Cousins is providing for this holiday season
"SCHEELS is so well known in the community for giving back, and that aligns with the Vikings and all of the parties involved, so any way we can help out and make someone's Christmas go further, it's what it's all about," SCHEELS Marketing and Events Lead Austin Link said. It's why we're here and why we do what we do."
The Vikings and SCHEELS joined forces for multiple holiday initiatives for the local community. They hosted an all-day drive for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation with help from KFAN 100.3-FM, shopping sprees with Vikings players Camryn Bynum, Brian O'Neill and Justin Jefferson thanks to Caribou Coffee and more.
Bynum, O'Neill & Jefferson Join Fans for SCHEELS Sprees
Bynum, O'Neill and Jefferson each joined a family that had been selected in a drawing by Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities for $1,000 shopping sprees at SCHEELS.
Tuesdays are usually off days, but Dec. 14 was a practice day because of Minnesota's Week 15 game on Monday Night Football.
Bynum really wanted to participate, so he showed up at 6 a.m. before his team commitments.
He was paired with a family that included a 16-year-old and 11-year-old twins, and the group bonded over a shared love of music.
"One of [the twins] started singing, and I'm like, 'Whoa, you're actually good good.' So he started singing, and then the other one wanted to play piano," Bynum said. "I was like, 'I've got a second piano at my house.' So I offered to give that to him. … And hopefully they can start playing music at a young age, like I wasn't able to do."
Bynum said he believes music is a great hobby for young people to explore and expand their creativity.
"That was the main motivation behind it, give a kid something to do besides just watching TV or doing stuff that, really, you're not working towards in life," Bynum said.
O'Neill and Jefferson were happy to join their families in exploring the SCHEELS store, which features a Ferris wheel, an animated John Randle figurine that talks and a Viktor the Viking made from LEGOs.
Their families focused mainly on clothes and boots.
"It's cool to see them enjoy this and to be able to spread a little holiday cheer, but I hope they get more out of it than I do," O'Neill said. "We do this for them. It's not for me to feel good about it, but I hope it means a lot to the [family]."
Don't think he didn't eye that Ferris wheel, though.
"There's probably a weight limit, but if there wasn't, I'd be in," the exuberant 6-foot-7, 310-pounder quipped.
Jefferson appreciated another opportunity to give back to the community. He's been doing so whenever possible despite limitations caused by COVID-19.
"I had to give her some tips on what drip to get, but it was cool to see the gifts she got for her kids and the boots I helped her pick out," Jefferson said.
Toys for Tots
The Vikings and KFAN 100.3-FM again partnered to boost the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, but they did so at the massive SCHEELS location in Eden Prairie Center for the first time.
Live radio broadcasts included guest appearances by Vikings Legends, as well as Bynum, O'Neill and Jefferson. The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders and Viktor the Viking also helped.
"It's super awesome, the fact that the Vikings reached out and wanted to work with us and have Toys for Tots here, not only with us but with KFAN, all of the families are bringing toys, stopping in to watch the shows, see the Vikings Cheerleaders and players," Link said. "Honestly, it's a dream come true and something that makes working here so enjoyable."