View images from lifelong Vikings fan Kevin Nyberg, who was given the opportunity in August to relive a Vikings photography experience he enjoyed 40 years ago as a child.
Lifelong Vikings fan Kevin Nyberg was given the opportunity in August to relive a Vikings photography experience he enjoyed 40 years ago as a child.
Nyberg vividly remembers accompanying his father to the Vikings-Packers game at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 5, 1976. Already finding a love for photography, he brought his camera along to the game and snapped photos of icons such as Fran Tarkenton and Head Coach Bud Grant.
"I remember it started snowing around halftime," Nyberg said. "Classic 1970s Vikings football."
Nyberg continued taking photos throughout his adult life, mainly as a hobby. He enjoyed bringing his camera along to his kids' basketball and football games and has always loved spending time outdoors capturing wildlife photos.
His first love, however, is Vikings football. The 2016 season marks Nyberg's third of being a season-ticket holder, and during the preseason he used points earned through the **Vikings Rewards program** to enter sweepstakes for a unique experience.
"It was something I really wanted to do," Nyberg said. "I registered more than once, that's for sure."
Out of more than 1,000 fans who used points for sweepstakes entries, Nyberg was selected to shadow Vikings photographer Andy Kenutis during the second quarter of Minnesota's fourth preseason game against the Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium.
When Nyberg arrived on the sideline to meet Kenutis, however, he received the biggest surprise of the evening: Kenutis lent Nyberg a camera so that he could take his own photos throughout the quarter.
"When he unclipped one of his cameras, I was just thinking, 'Wow. This is so cool,' " Nyberg said. "That was the highlight of the day."
Nyberg was able to pick Kenutis' brain about his job as the team's official photographer, but he also enjoyed the time to uniquely focus on shooting the game.
"I think Andy knew I was comfortable using a camera, and he kind of let me do my thing," Nyberg said. "I sat down in the end zone and captured some pretty good shots, I think."
Kenutis said he enjoyed the experience almost as much as Nyberg did. He appreciated the enthusiasm and gratitude that Nyberg expressed, which made the situation even more comfortable for Kenutis, who said he'd love to do it again.
"It was very humbling to see how excited he was to be on the field and experience what I get to do every week," Kenutis said. "It definitely gave me perspective. It was also a very creative way to involve our fans in the game-day experience and introduce them to other aspects of our organization."
Nyberg explained his initial reaction to being on the field as "awestruck."
"Seeing the players on the sideline was a highlight, and seeing all the fans in the stands was just amazing," he said.
According to Nyberg, the toughest part of the experience was knowing he had to remain neutral – rather than cheering from the sideline – when he donned the NFL media vest.
He snapped photo after photo, working to capture the atmosphere and happenings of the game. One of the favorite sequences Nyberg photographed occurred when defensive end Justin Trattou disrupted a pass by Rams quarterback Jared Goff, and Toby Johnson made the diving interception.
"If I was to think of a Valhalla experience," said Nyberg, "that would be it – being on the field with the Minnesota Vikings."