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Vikings Employees Navigating Stay-at-Home Order Offer Encouragement to Fellow Parents


EAGAN, Minn. – The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting millions of people across the country in a variety of ways, and the Minnesota Vikings have been working to make an impact during these unprecedented times.

From the Wilf family ownership group surpassing $5 million in donations, to Adam Thielen partnering with KFAN for a radiothon that raised nearly $300,000 in support, to Kyle Rudolph's Second Harvest Heartland fundraiser and many other initiatives, the organization is helping to ease effects of the coronavirus crisis where it can.

Like many across the U.S., nearly all Vikings employees have been working remotely and adjusting to this indefinite "new normal" created to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19.

With that in mind, we caught up with four members of the Vikings family, including Chief Operating Officer Andrew Miller, to see how they and their loved ones are navigating this unique – and sometimes trying – situation.

Andrew Miller, Chief Operating Officer

Andrew and his wife, Jill, have three children: Alana (6), Evan (almost 3) and Adley (6 months)

Q: What has been the biggest challenge to adjusting to this new 'normal'?

A: It has been an adjustment for us as a family, like so many other families, to educate our children from home while balancing our work, but we are fortunate in so many ways in our lives that our thoughts are more on the pain and challenges that so many other people in our community are forced to endure right now – whether through the loss of loved ones, sickness, lost jobs, difficulty paying bills, food insecurity or the additional stresses that have come from this pandemic.

Q: What positives have you been able to focus on during the stay-at-home order?

A: It has been inspirational to see how our community has pulled together in an attempt to limit the impact of COVID-19 and to witness the daily sacrifices by healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees and so many others that are putting themselves at risk to help. As a family, we are trying to cherish the rare opportunity to spend so much time together and connect virtually with our friends and families.

Q: Are there any games or activities that have been especially engaging for your family during this time?

A: Our kids have greatly enjoyed the relaxation of limitations on screen time! Seriously, we enjoy playing hide-and-seek in our backyard when the weather is nice as well as a made-up game of "space tag" in our basement.

Q: Do you have any words of advice for parents of young children navigating these unprecedented circumstances?

A: These extraordinary times have created any number of stresses for all of us as parents. We hope parents can find ways to enjoy the time as a family while juggling all of their other responsibilities – and to somehow find time, even just a few minutes, for themselves to exercise, get outside and maintain mental health.


Karen Storkamp, MVC & Women's Initiatives Coordinator

Karen and her husband, Cory, have an 8-month old daughter, Skylar.

Q: What have been the biggest challenges for your family adjusting to this new "normal"?

A: The biggest challenge for our family has been working from home with Skylar. Getting her schedule down is tough! We keep thinking about how much we appreciate our daycare teachers and how great they are at getting her down for naps!

Q: What are some positives you've been able to focus on?

A: The biggest positive we have been focused on is watching Skylar grow every day. When my husband and I were both at work and she was at daycare, we'd be sad when we only saw her in the mornings and at night; it felt like we were missing out on so much throughout the days! Now that we are actually able to see her and take care of her during the day, we are trying to remember that we once wished that this was always the case.

Q: What are some words of advice you might offer new parents who are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects?

A: Give yourself grace. Be sure to take care of yourself first so that you can feel good while taking care of your little one. Do not try and 'do it all' because then nothing will get done. Tackle one thing at a time. You've got this!


Alicia Dreyer, Senior Creative Manager

Alicia and her husband, J.R., have three children: Josie (6), James (4) and William (1).

Q: What have been the biggest challenges for your family adjusting to this new "normal"?

A: Because my husband typically is tied to meetings and various calls throughout the day, it's been difficult to navigate the challenge of parenting (and all that comes with it) and teaching in addition to working full-time. I've always enjoyed playing and spending time with all of my kids, but I haven't had to focus as much on teaching letters, fine-motor skills, etc., because they are usually doing so much of that in preschool and daycare.

Q: What are some go-to activities or games that have helped keep your little ones busy?

A: It's important for our 4-year-old to work on his reading and fine-motor skills, which includes daily time in a preschool workbook and a game we developed. He rolls a Scattergories die (has 26 sides with all the letters) and writes whatever letter comes up. It's been a fun and unique way to help him practice his handwriting and letter recognition.

Don't be afraid to get messy! I'm a creative person, and my kids love art as much as I do. We have non-toxic, washable markers, so sometimes we draw on our bodies/faces, and sometimes we draw on the windows or our glass table – but ONLY with the washable markers! We experiment a lot with drawing / doing art on non-traditional mediums. We took all of our cardboard boxes and made a giant castle, and then I let the kids paint it outside. We made shields and swords, and the kids acted out scenes from "How to Train Your Dragon."

It can be hard to stay upbeat and positive. When I see one of the kids is frustrated or I am getting frustrated myself, I try to do something silly to redirect their attention and change the mood. Sometimes I start singing a silly song or put on music and dance crazy, or sometimes I just start telling them a random story or fact.

A few other cool things we have found:

1. A local kids band called "The Jolly Pops" have a 30-minute live dance party on Facebook every day at 10:30 a.m. (CT). My kids love dancing to the songs and the host/musician usually says hi to the kids by name and takes requests.

2. One of our favorite authors, Mo Willems, hosts a daily lunch doodle (put on by The Kennedy Center in NYC). He shows the kids how to draw a character and then usually has another fun activity like making your own board game, teaching about how he has drawn / written his books, etc.

Q: What advice would you offer parents who are tackling distance learning with their young children?

A: I think it's important to find ways to include the younger siblings in activities as you're able … so I write out color-coded activities for the kids. My oldest is in kindergarten, so I look at her lesson plan for the day and look for activities that my 4-year-old can do with her and label them one color on the board (Purple – It's both their favorite color because Mommy works for the Vikings). My 4-year-old really seems to enjoy having his own special assignments. … Our daycare has also been great at emailing us a couple of times a week with age appropriate activities and learning exercises that we can try at home for our toddler and for our preschooler.


Stuart Morrow, Vikings Senior Account Executive

Stuart and his wife, Kristina, have two children: Theodore (3) and Marlie (7 weeks)

Q: What positives have you been able to focus on during the stay-at-home order?

A: There have been a lot of positives for us during this time. It has been great to be home while Kristina is on maternity leave and be able to spend more time with Marlie while she is so young. We have also had more time for cooking. We cook every night now and are challenging ourselves to try new recipes. Some of the meals have been black bean burgers, zuppa Toscana, veggie pad Thai, and Thai turkey lettuce wraps, to name a few. Also, we are exercising and trying to get out for walks as much as possible.

Q: What are some go-to activities or games that have been helpful with your little ones?

A:Since Theo has been home from daycare, we have been trying to create structure and get into a routine. I'll wake up with Theo and make him breakfast. Then, Kristina has both kids in the mornings while I work. She will often do kids' yoga or have some sort of arts-and-crafts idea for Theo to do. After lunch, it is nap time and back to work for me. In the afternoons, we try to spend time outside together. Before bed, we play hide-and-seek or Duck, Duck, Goose, and then it's time to read books and try to get the kids to sleep. Somedays it works out like that… other days, it's pure chaos and we just try to survive. Then at the end of the night, enjoy a nice craft beer or glass of wine.

Q: What are some words of advice you might offer new parents who are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects?

A: Everyone tells you when it comes to your children, 'It goes fast, and before you know it they are all grown up.' So try to soak-in every moment you spend with them, good and bad. We know this will be over someday, and hopefully we can look back at this and really cherish all the memories and time we were able to spend together."