Tyler Conklin and his girlfriend Scottie stood several yards apart from one another in their backyard, their Siberian huskies sitting equidistant from the couple.
On the count of three, Tyler and Scottie called simultaneously to Laska and Luna, each hoping to be chosen by the pair of pups.
"C'mon, boy!" Tyler yelled to Laska, the black-and-white husky who trotted his direction.
Luna, wearing a beautiful gray-and-white coat, had a harder time with the decision but ultimately – after wavering back and forth for a couple of moments – joined Laska at Tyler's side.
You'd have thought Tyler had scored a touchdown, similar to his score against Seattle last week. The Vikings tight end celebrated the "victory," loving up the pups and giving Scottie a hard time.
As he walked away, though, he reached into the pocket of his lounge pants, pulled out a handful of dog treats and shrugged with a smile.
"That may have had something to do with it," Tyler laughed.
"As you saw, they like me a lot better than they like Scottie," he later quipped. "But in all reality, Scottie probably gets to spend a little more time with them, brings them to the dog park like three times a week, and they probably like Scottie a little bit more. So the test might not be true, but I'll take it."
Regardless of who likes whom more, there's no denying the connection between Laska, Luna and their "parents."
Having always grown up with huskies, Tyler knew he'd one day own the breed himself. He reminisced fondly of his family dogs, Shadow and Pepper, pulling him as a young child through the Michigan snow on a wooden toboggan.
The 26-year-old also has an affinity for wolves and especially appreciates the likeness huskies bear to the wild canines.
View photos of Vikings TE Tyler Conklin and his Siberian huskies Laska & Luna, in this edition of Purple Pups.
Scottie, though she grew up with cats, can't imagine life without Laska and Luna.
"But huskies are kind of like cats to me," she said. "The way they sleep on top of the couch, the way they play … I don't know. I've loved having dogs so far – they're my children."
And she definitely spoils them as such, she admits. Scottie has been known to be overly generous with treats, and she also plays games of hide-and-seek with the pups at home.
"If Luna can't find me, she'll start crying, and then I'll come out because I feel bad," Scottie said.
Tyler got Laska as a puppy shortly after being drafted by the Vikings 157th overall in 2018. A year later when Tyler and Scottie moved in together, the couple added Luna to the family.
"Laska is the calm, loving one … and Luna is the husky who acts like a husky," Tyler said.
The pups have completely different personalities, he noted, with Luna being the more dominant of the two and also being more likely to find trouble.
Scottie recalled a couple of Christmases ago, when she and Tyler returned home to find 30-40 previously wrapped gifts strewn about the living room in a flurry of shredded, red-and-green paper.
"Luna is super naughty. She likes to get into everything," Scottie acknowledged. "It kind of gave me a sneak preview of what I got for Christmas. But I mean, she's adorable, so you can't really be that mad at her."
Asked to compare the dogs' demeanors to current Vikings teammates, Tyler thought for a moment before landing on a pair of offensive linemen.
"I think Laska acts like Ezra [Cleveland]. Just even-keel, you know what you're going to get from him," Tyler explained. "And then Luna, I'd say, acts like Brian O'Neill a little bit. Because she's [almost always] in a good mood, a little playful, but can sometimes be moody."
Luna has gotten into more mischief, but that Laska has created his own bits of isolated chaos, as well.
One morning while taking the dogs for a walk, Scottie stopped to poop-scoop just as a white-tailed deer stepped into the group's sightline. And just like that, Laska took off after it.
"All of a sudden Laska's just gone," Scottie said. "I'm literally through people's backyards in my neighborhood, and about 10 little kids are like, 'Oh my gosh, is the white-and-black dog your dog? He's chasing a deer!' And I'm like, 'I know!'
"So I have all the neighborhood kids following me, running after Laska and this deer, and finally he just comes back," Scottie laughed. "It was a nice way to meet all of my neighbors."
Tyler has been happy playing for a Midwest team not too far from his hometown of Chesterfield, Michigan, and the transition to Minnesota also was pretty seamless for Laska and Luna.
Tyler said he "knew they'd love it" in the Twin Cities, from the expansive parks and outdoor areas to the Minnesota winters that cover the backyard in blankets of snow.
"Minnesota is perfect for them," Tyler said. "They love it. The winter, they love. I'd like to maybe get a toboggan or a sled or something and see if they'll maybe pull me around, but I haven't gotten that far yet."
Follow Laska & Luna on Instagram here.
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