MINNEAPOLIS — Ladies convened Thursday at the New Stadium Preview Center to share their passion for The Purple and the game of football.
A total of 75 ladies attended a Women, Wine and Football event, the first of its kind held by the Vikings for youth football moms and Season Ticket Members.
Vikings Youth Football Manager and former linebacker E.J. Henderson hosted the event that included a tour of the 7,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art center, an information session about concussions that was led by TRIA and an entertaining "chalk talk" session with former University of Minnesota and Vikings defensive back Tyrone Carter.
The ladies were able to stroll through years of Vikings history in photos and videos that chronicle moments that many saw first-hand. They were also able to view models of the new Vikings stadium, which is about 45 percent complete, and use interactive screens to see illustrations of the view they'll have from their seats in the iconic venue that is set to open in July 2016.
Two build outs of suites that will be available in the stadium were popular areas Thursday because they allowed comfortable places to sip, socialize and enjoy appetizers.
"It was fun having them here," Henderson said. "Seeing the Preview Center was fun for them, the suites and the memorabilia that they have up, but they really got into the chalk talk and the Xs and Os and the nitty gritty about Cover 2, Cover 1, Cover 3, the differences and personnel differences.
"That's what's exciting to me, that they really enjoy football on a deeper level and not just cosmetic, watching on Sundays," Henderson continued. "We'll continue to do more programs like this, Xs and Os, chalk talk, health and safety, concussion awareness."
Henderson thanked TRIA and Carter for their presentations.
"I think the moms had some good questions regarding concussions and things moving forward, as far as safety is concerned," Henderson said. "I obviously wanted to push that message about getting them signed up for Heads Up Football in any league that their loved ones are participating in. Overall, it was a great event, and everybody seemed pretty happy."
Henderson, a second-round pick in 2003 who played all 133 of his games with the Vikings, said advancements in technology and the level of awareness in concussion prevention and treatment have been made since he wrapped up his career after the 2011 season.
"No doubt, technology has risen. Awareness is the biggest thing, having trainers on the sidelines," Henderson said. "We had them there before but it seems like they're on it even more now, the research, the science, even at the youth level, how we're paying more attention to what's going on and different programs.
"USA Football is doing a great job of coming up with programs and consistently trying to improve what they have going on," Henderson continued. "The NFL is doing a great job of investing a ton of money into concussion awareness and I think it's all starting to come to fruition, and this is kind of a turning point. I'm happy to be part of the solution, even though I participated in the problem era, I'm happy to be on the other side of the hill now. I know we're not quite there yet, but I think we're in a good place."
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