MINNEAPOLIS – Carter Marx stood in awe on the sideline during Vikings warmups.
The 7-year-old locked in on Stefon Diggs, who jogged up and down the end zone in sweats catching passes from assistant equipment manager Adam Groene.
Carter had only watched the Vikings on TV but decided last year that he wanted to see his favorite team up close and personal at U.S. Bank Stadium.
It all started when Carter's parents, Bryan and Krista, gave their son small chores to do around the house to earn money: sweeping, feeding the family dog, helping Bryan pick up leaves and sticks from the front yard and even doing some shoveling during the winter.
What began as a quest to purchase LEGOs soon gained a loftier end goal.
"He started asking how much a Vikings ticket cost … and at that point decided he wanted to save up for his own ticket so he could go to a game," Bryan explained. "Over about eight months, he saved up $110."
Carter started showing interest in the Vikings a couple of years ago, and he has since learned the Vikings roster as well as the ins and outs of the game of football – with a little help from playing Madden, Bryan admits.
Watching games together has become a father-son bonding experience that Bryan, a lifelong Vikings fan, cherishes.
Krista has enjoyed watching Carter and Bryan connect over a shared love for football.
"He's always liked to follow in his dad's footsteps, and his dad's always been passionate about the Vikings," Krista said.
The Vikings caught wind of Carter's endeavor and helped make the season opener experience extra special by providing pregame sideline passes for the family.
Carter wore a purple Stefon Diggs jersey, SKOL sleeves, and a Vikings snapback hat. Purple and gold beads hung around his neck, and the young fan even wore eye-black patches on his cheeks. Adam Thielen's last name was written on one and Diggs on the other.
He didn't hesitate when asked about choosing to save his money.
"I just wanted to see the Vikings play," Carter said. "I didn't want to buy anything else because I'm a very big Vikings fan. … I'm pretty excited."
He added: "I have one favorite player on defense and one on offense. The one on the offense is Adam Thielen, and then the one on defense is Danielle Hunter."
Bryan and Krista were proud of Carter's commitment.
"We were excited about the fact that he was willing to work that hard for a grander prize than something that you can just pick up at the store," Bryan said. "Teaching him and seeing him be receptive to the idea of responsibility, we wanted him to experience that rewarding process where he saved up and purchased the ticket. We wanted to kind of have that soak in, and we thought that would be really effective towards a 7-year-old growing up and maturing and demonstrating that responsibility."
Watching Carter's excitement on the sideline, Krista grew a bit emotional.
"It's really neat to see a small child be so passionate about the players and potentially want to be one himself one day," Krista said. "He's got Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, people that he admires that he's standing down here watching.
"This is bigger than Disneyland to him," she added. "It's a big deal today."