On Saturday, Vikings Hall of Famers Randall McDaniel and John Randle will attend the 8th Annual Flavors of Austin in Austin, Texas. The benefit that is hosted by Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell and his son, Tyler, will raise funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis through the Pro Player Foundation.
The exclusive event will feature a number of former and current football stars, entertainment, auction and food and drinks from some of Austin's award-winning restaurants. Hall of Fame guests slated to join McDaniel and Randle are fellow Hall of Fame legends Tony Dorsett, Joe Greene, Charles Haley and Ken Houston. Former Cowboys defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George also will be in attendance.
McDaniel has said he appreciates participating in Flavors of Austin not only for the opportunity to connect with other NFL Legends but also because he's personally inspired by Tyler's story. He and Randle are eager to help make a difference and raise awareness about MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.
Tyler was diagnosed with MS in 2007, during his senior season as a running back at San Diego State University. Tyler finished out the season, choosing to not disclose his diagnosis with the team for fear of being a distraction.
McDaniel first met Tyler that year; at the time, Tyler was working to raise money to put some grass on the playground for an elementary school where he'd volunteered.
"I was so impressed that a 21-year-old kid would see a need in his community and then find a way to put an event together to make a difference for the students at that school," McDaniel recalled in 2016. "I knew then Tyler was a special young man."
While MS prohibited Tyler from continuing to the NFL, he has embraced the challenge and dedicated his life to increasing understanding and supporting others who struggle daily with the disease.
"I now have the opportunity to share my experience to help others living with this disease and make an impact on the MS community," Tyler said.
Guests at Saturday's event will have the opportunity to taste dishes and desserts from several Austin establishments. They will have the opportunity to bid on a George Strait guitar, ResorTime vacations to Hawaii and Mexico as well as sports memorabilia and spa and restaurant packages. Entertainment will be provided by renowned Austin singer and pianist Emily Gimble.
McDaniel, who is a regular honored guest in the Flavors of Austin event, called Earl Campbell one of his "football heroes" when he was growing up in Phoenix, Arizona.
McDaniel played 13 seasons (1988-2001) for the Vikings and earned trips to the Pro Bowl in all but one of them. Campbell, the first overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft, played for the Houston Oilers from 1978-1984 before ending his career with a brief stint with the Saints.
On Saturday, McDaniel and Randle will join fellow football greats in continuing their impact off the field.