"Hey, SKOLdiers – it's 'Big Country' Kyle Rudolph. I'm here today because we need your help. We have a great opportunity to support our heroes who need it the most, our military veterans."
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has been a consistent supporter of active American military members and their families throughout his NFL career, and fans now have the opportunity to join him – and several teammates – in supporting veterans' life after service.
The Vikings once again have partnered with Polaris and the Wounded Warrior Project for the second "Skoldiers" campaign, which works to raise money for the nonprofit.
Wounded Warrior Project is committed to helping wounded veterans achieve their highest ambition. These donations will support free programs in mental health, career counseling and long-term, rehabilitative care that assures warriors aren't just living – they're thriving.
With a minimum donation of $20, fans will receive a free Skoldiers hat, which bears the Vikings Norseman on the front and American flag and Wounded Warrior Project logo on the side panels.
The Minnesota Vikings have partnered with Polaris and Wounded Warrior Project to bring you the exclusive Skoldiers Hat. With a minimum donation of Twenty Dollars, you will receive a free Skoldiers hat. All proceeds will go directly to Wounded Warrior Project. Visit vikings.com/salute.
All proceeds will go directly to Wounded Warrior Project. In 2018, during the Vikings inaugural Skoldiers promotion, donations raised more than $38,000 for U.S. military veterans.
"The response last year was amazing," Vikings Entertainment Network Producer GH Ridpath said. "With the blueprint we created last year, we were able to get things going so much quicker this year, so I really can't wait to see where it goes. It's a really fun project for a cause that is so worth the time and attention."
Returning this year will be the Skoldiers PSAs. Throughout the first three weeks of November, new episodes will center around a theme that can apply to fans and veterans alike: injuries, help and self-assurance.
Last season, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and cornerback Xavier Rhodes starred in the unique videos modeled after vintage military public service announcements. This year's PSAs will feature a cast: Rudolph, defensive end Everson Griffen and linebacker duo Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
Ridpath emphasized the impact of the players' involvement with the project.
"We are fortunate to have such a humble and genuine team – [these players] recognize the importance of giving back and helping others," Ridpath said. "They always get a good laugh when I pitch the initial ideas but also see the potential that it brings. They get to be cartoon superheroes for a great cause; it's definitely a win-win."
Dreamworks Supervising Producer Matt Engstrom, whom fans will recognize for his weekly Vikings Matchup illustrations, served as lead designer for the Skoldiers PSAs, and the Vikings also brought Cartuna on board as animators.
Engstrom pointed out the uniqueness of this project and said, "It's special to me because it provides the opportunity to help raise awareness for such a tremendous cause."
Fans who would like to donate can visit Vikings.com/salute or stop by any Polaris dealership. Donations can also be made at the Vikings-Broncos game at U.S. Bank Stadium on Nov. 17, which will be the final day of the campaign.