A group of 38 people who visited the Vikings mock game as part of a four-day experience organized by the NFL and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS.org).
LONDON — Army Capt. Timothy Shaun Anderson loved playing football and watching the Vikings.
A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, he played running back for Tennessee Tech, whose colors also are purple and gold, before joining the United States Army.
While stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Capt. Anderson shared his passion for Vikings football with his sons, Timothy (now 17) and Shaun (now 15), tuning in to see Brett Favre help Minnesota make the NFC Championship.
Capt. Anderson, who was born in 1969, told stories of the Purple People Eaters to his sons.
Although Capt. Anderson passed away on April 16, 2011, his namesakes came face-to-face with his favorite team on Saturday morning at Twickenham Stadium.
Timothy, Shaun, their sister, Brionna, and mother, Johnette, were part of a group of 38 people who visited the Vikings mock game as part of a four-day experience organized by the NFL and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS.org).
The Anderson family lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and became huge fans of Teddy Bridgewater, frequently watching the former Cardinals star in college and continuing to follow the 2014 first-round pick on television.
They met Bridgewater and got his autograph after the practice.
Johnette said her husband "had a lot of passion about a lot of things in life, and football was high on the list."
Johnette said her sons remind her of Capt. Anderson.
"They're wonderful," Johnette said. "Their dad passed away when they were 6 and 8, so they didn't get to spend a lot of time with him because he was always traveling and working, but they've got a lot of his good qualities, and one is a passion for sports."
TAPS has assisted more than 70,000 surviving family members who have lost loved ones in the military.
The NFL and TAPS connected families from the United States and United Kingdom for a collective healing experience.
The families attended a reception at the U.S. Embassy on Thursday, toured the Tower of London and were scheduled to visit Windsor Castle in the afternoon. They'll also attend Sunday's game between the Vikings and Cleveland Browns.
Vikings Owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf, General Manager Rick Spielman and players took photos and enjoyed speaking with the families.
"We appreciate them, and it puts the game of football a little more into perspective," tackle Riley Reiff said. "We know how lucky we are, and it wouldn't be possible without the sacrifices that those families have been through. It's a good deal."