MINNEAPOLIS — Growing up in eastern South Dakota, Steve Poppen had a passion for the Vikings and an interest in accounting.
Poppen has been able to pair both for 18 years with the Minnesota Vikings.
"To be able to do what I went to school for in the NFL is a dream come true," said Poppen, the Vikings Chief Financial Officer. "To be able to do the things you love to do in a sports league like the NFL is really amazing."
Poppen has been instrumental in the Vikings substantial off-the-field changes in recent years.
The Vikings have drawn positive reviews with the opening of U.S. Bank Stadium, a 1.75-million-square-foot facility, and have begun construction on the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center that is scheduled to become the team's headquarters in March 2018.
There's been no shortage of work for Poppen and others with the overlap of major projects, but Poppen has enjoyed the experience.
"We've been on hyper speed the past few years. It's been a great run," Poppen said. "We still have a lot to do. Seeing this building of U.S. Bank Stadium from the legislative process, to getting the agreement in place, to seeing it start coming out of the ground, and now where it is today, it's really exciting. It's humbling and so much fun."
Poppen's hard work and leadership was recognized recently when the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named him **CFO of the Year** in its "large private company" category of annual awards.
Vikings CFO Steve Poppenâs hard work and leadership was recognized recently when the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal named him CFO of the Year in its âlarge private companyâ category of annual awards.
Poppen and other leaders across the Twin Cities were recognized last week during a luncheon and ceremony.
Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren and Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley joined Poppen at the ceremony and said that he is highly deserving.
"I'm just so excited to see Steve receive this award. He's a person that definitely never seeks accolades," Warren said. "He's a private person, a low-key person, but he has such a great family — his parents, wife and kids.
"He's such a hard worker, and this has been a long time coming. He's worked diligently here for 18 years, and it has been a blessing in these last couple of years to work on the stadium and the practice facility with Steve."
Warren said Poppen blends intelligence, ethics and work habits along with putting others first.
"I'm glad that he finally gets some recognition that's well-deserved," Warren said. "I've had a chance to work with a lot of people, but there's very few CFOs who really have that combination of intelligence, style, grace, vision, foresight, but most of all, he's just so ethical."
Bagley said no one is more deserving than Poppen.
"It should be CFO of the decade or century with as much work as Steve put in," Bagley said. "It's a great recognition and acknowledgement for our organization, but mostly for Steve, who has those small-town roots — Watertown, South Dakota — and work ethic. No one works harder than Steve. No one is a better teammate or friend. We love him, and we're proud of him."
Poppen thanked the support that he and the Vikings organization have received under the leadership of the Wilf family, who purchased the Vikings in 2005.
"To work with Owners like Zygi, Mark, Lenny and Jon Wilf, who invest in this organization, not just from a football standpoint, but from a resource and staff standpoint has been fun and an honor to be a part," Poppen said. "They're competitive and they want to win, and they're in this to win in a world-class atmosphere."