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Vikings Players, Coaches Hit the Links for Charity Golf Tournament

PRIOR LAKE, Minn. — There was a mix of smiles and swings at the Vikings Children's Fund Golf Tournament.

The 26th annual event was held for the first time at The Meadows at Mystic Lake golf course.

The tournament raises money for the Vikings Children's Fund, which distributes money annually to numerous organizations across the Upper Midwest, including the University of Minnesota's Department of Pediatrics.

"This is one of many big events that we have over the year," said Patrick Leopold, the Vikings Children's Fund Coordinator. "What's neat about this one is that we're outside, and everyone is enjoying the elements.

"We've got so many players that come out here and have a chance to have some great food and relax and have a lot of fun while raising money for the foundation."

More than 50 Vikings players and coaches turned out for the event, along with front office staff including General Manager Rick Spielman.

Spielman was joined by actor and avid Vikings fan Josh Duhamel. Former Vikings John Randle, Paul Krause, Henry Thomas, Keith Millard, Ted Brown, Greg Coleman, Rich Gannon, Bob Lurtsema, Doug Sutherland and Scott Studwell also participated.

A pair of rookies earned bragging rights as tight end David Morgan and quarterback Joel Stave were part of the winning team that shot a 54.

"Being a first-year guy, it was good to come out here and get the victory," Morgan said. "Joel played really well, and we had a few other guys that were great players so they carried the team. It was a team victory."

Tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith's squad placed second with a 55 while the team including Randle and Coleman took third with a 56.

The 26th Annual Vikings Children's Fund Golf Tournament recently took place with players, coaches and alumni taking part.

The annual tournament provides an opportunity for Vikings fans to interact with players they usually see on Sundays.

Jason Gauthier was among those grouped with kicker Blair Walsh and Gannon.

"It's a beautiful day, and I can't complain," Gauthier said. "Blair has been awesome, super personable … he's just another guy you're playing golf with."

While the main objective of the day was to support the Vikings Children's Fund, the event also gave Vikings players a chance to showcase varying degrees of skill on the links.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was when running back Adrian Peterson sank a tricky 8-foot downhill putt on the 16th green that gave his group a birdie.

Wide receiver Adam Thielen was a popular choice when Vikings players were asked to name the best golfer on the team, an honor the Minnesota-native didn't dispute.

Thielen, who won a Minnesota state golf championship as a senior at Detroit Lakes High School, said Rudolph and Walsh might give him a run for his money.

"There's a couple guys who are alright, but I think I'm probably the best," he said. "I'd hope so since I played a lot of golf in my day."

Competition aside, whether they were partaking on their first or fifth tournament, many players said they enjoyed the break from the gridiron to support a worthy cause.

"It's a great event and all of the players have a really good time," said Vikings long snapper Kevin McDermott. "We get to play with some of the fans and those who are supporting the Children's Fund, so it's great."

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