GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The Vikings lended man's best friend a helping hand Tuesday afternoon at the Animal Humane Society.
Members of the team showed up to interact with dogs, cats and bunnies while also supporting the Humane Society. The franchise also pledged to donate $50 for each adoption at the four Humane Society locations around the metro.
Zach Nugent, a spokesperson for the Humane Society, said the facility was buzzing all afternoon as players shuffled in and out of play areas while also interacting with guests and the staff.
"This is such an exciting day for us, such a wonderful opportunity," Nugent said. "Here at AHS, we really rely on the support of the community, and to have the support of a franchise like the Vikings that is so deep-rooted in the Minneapolis community, it's just amazing."
"November tends to be a slower time for us with adoption … and to have the players here to help support our adoption efforts … it's incredible, and we're so appreciative," Nugent added.
Brad Moller was at the facility to adopt a black domestic short-haired cat to become the family's sixth feline.
Moller said he and his family had talked about bringing their cat total to a half-dozen and decided Tuesday would be the day after seeing an email promoting the Vikings support of the Humane Society.
"We had, in the last month or so, kind of been looking for an extra cat," Moller said. "We just kind of fell right into this. But this is by far going to be our last … we're not going beyond this."
"I'm a very big fan," Moller added about the Vikings efforts. "I saw a few players in here earlier … but I was too busy looking at cats [to interact with them]."
Kevin McDermott was among the handful of players to show up and support the cause. He was joined by Dan Bailey, Matt Wile, Tashawn Bower, Storm Norton, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Anthony Harris, Stephen Weatherly and Tyler Conklin.
McDermott and his wife, Lauren, already have a 4-year-old white Labrador at home, but the Vikings long snapper said they almost ended up taking home a furry friend.
"There was a Border Collie, Rockwell, that I had to talk my wife out of from taking home with us today," McDermott said with a laugh. "We're about a month away from having our first child, so we're going to stick with the one dog we have right now.
"There are just so many great animals here who are so well-behaved and well-taken care of," McDermott added. "The Humane Society does a great job, and we're happy to help out."
Harris doesn't have any pets but said he, too, also considered adopting a dog. But with hectic in-season schedule, Harris relished the chance to play with some puppies for a bit.
"It's a lot of fun to check out the different dogs and different personalities," Harris said. "The energy is pretty high … you walk into the room and a lot of the dogs are excited.
"I walked into the room, and one dog was kind of shy, so I decided to sit down so I didn't seem as big," Harris added. "A few minutes after, she came over and warmed up and didn't leave. One of the trainers said she is usually scared of males, so I was surprised how fast she warmed up. It's nice to have moments like that."
Harris said he was more than happy to support pet adoption along with some of his teammates.
"This is something that is very positive and very helpful," Harris said. "Not just for the people that work here and the pets, for the people who adopt pets as well.
"It's a stress reliever for people and it's also the other way around," Harris said. "It's a good opportunity for people who are looking to adopt."
Nugent said the Humane Society takes in thousands of animals each year, and that the four metro locations currently house approximately 150 animals.
"[The Vikings support is] huge, and it's going to go a long way to support many more animals down the road and get them into some loving new homes," Nugent said. "It's been so fun to watch the players interact with the dogs, the cats and the bunnies we have here.
"I know everyone has gotten a big kick out of having them here, and we're so grateful to have their support," Nugent added.