MINNEAPOLIS –The Major League Baseball Home Run Derby will take place tonight, but a pair of Vikings rookies recently participated in a derby of their own.
First- and second-round draft picks Laquon Treadwell and Mackensie Alexander were special guests at Target Field on June 18 when the Twins played the New York Yankees. Prior to the game, Treadwell and Alexander joined the Twins mascot, TC Bear, in a home run derby.
"I'm feeling good," Alexander said prior to the competition. "We warmed up good, me and 'Quon.
"I might get a little nervous," he added, laughing. "There's a lot of people out here."
Alexander notched a home run, but Treadwell showed him up and connected for two.
"I did better than Mackensie, so that will always be something to cherish," Treadwell said.
The rookies were both outdone by TC Bear, who tallied three home runs.
"It looks like he plays for the team," Treadwell said.
Following the home run derby, Treadwell threw out the first pitch to Twins second-year pro Miguel Sano. Treadwell was joined on the mound by his daughter, Madison, who also shared the stage with her father on draft night.
Treadwell and Alexander weren't the only Vikings who swapped football jerseys for baseball threads this summer. Kyle Rudolph threw out the first pitch for the Twins May 24 game against the Kansas City Royals.
Rudolph and his wife, Jordyn, used the opportunity for a special announcement, revealing they will be first-time parents. Fittingly, the couple is expecting twin girls in October.
When Rudolph took the mound, he donned a custom No. 82 Twins jersey that shared the news.
Joining Rudolph were Vikings teammates Teddy Bridgewater, Audie Cole, Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson and Jarius Wright, who helped them celebrate.
Prior to the game, Rudolph spoke with Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, who became a first-time father when his twin daughters were born in July 2013.
"We're joining your club," Rudolph told Mauer. "Throw all the knowledge on me you've got."
Mauer told Rudolph that he's fortunate to have the twins as his first children.
"You're going to have a lot of fun with it," said Mauer, who's preparing for his girls' third birthday. "You're getting thrown in the deep end, but you won't know any different.
"You're joining a community," Mauer said, reminding Rudolph that Wild forward Zach Parise also became a father to twins in January 2014.
The Rudolphs may be new to parenting, but they're certainly not new to making a difference in children's lives. Both Kyle and Jordyn are heavily involved at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. From visiting patients in their rooms, to signing autographs for families, to sponsoring movie nights in the Wilf Family Auditorium, Rudolph's dedication to the hospital is undeniable.
This year, Rudolph committed to an initiative to build a state-of-the-art, 2,500-square-foot patient family centered space at the hospital. Named "Kyle Rudolph's End Zone," the space was designed to help children and teenagers find a place to play, relax, engage in healing therapies and socialize with other patients and families in the hospital.
The Rudolphs made a lead donation and are actively fundraising for the add-on. Rudolph hosted an NFL Draft Party on April 28, with proceeds from the gala directly benefiting the campaign. The campaign is a continuous effort, and individuals wishing to help support the Kyle Rudolph End Zone can donate here.