Eden Prairie, MN (November 21, 2014) – TheMinnesota Vikingswill honor military members during theirNovember 23game against the Green Bay Packers as part of theNational Football League's "Salute to Service" campaign**, which has taken place since 2011.
Throughout the day, the Vikings will incorporate military members and themes both in the stadium and the game day experience.
The following is a list of events that will take place in conjunction with Sunday's game to help elevate military appreciation.
● Gjallarhorn – Sergeant Thomas Block,a Minnesota native and a member of the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, will sound the Gjallarhorn prior to kickoff. Block was attacked by a suicide bomber while patrolling in southern Afghanistan. After numerous surgeries, Block continues to serve in the Rangers. His leadership, courage and bravery led to his selection as the 2014 Army Times Soldier of the Year.* *
● National Anthem – Airman First Class Brooke Colby and Staff Sergeant Ryan Ringwelskiof the Minnesota Air National Guard will perform the national anthem prior to kickoff. * *
● Honorary Captain – First Sergeant Robert Renningfrom the Minneapolis-based Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing will walk out to midfield with the team captains for the coin toss as the game's honorary captain. Renning, a veteran of over 20 years, has deployed three times in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Last summer, Renning saved a trapped motorist from a burning vehicle on Interstate 35W and moved him to safety.
● Salute to Service Halftime – World War II Veterans Captain Tom Homdrom (Army), Corporal Wayne DeVries (Marine) and Quartermaster 3rd Class Bill Ringold (Navy) will be recognized for their commitment and service to our country.Soldiers of the 114th Transportation Companywill be welcomed home by the Minnesota National Guard's Adjutant General,Major General Rick Nash.The group is returning home following a deployment to Afghanistan.
● Color Guard – Members of the Joint Forces Color Guard will present the colors for this week's game. Members of the Joint Forces Color Guard represent all branches of military service –Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
● Field Flag– Vikings fans and season ticket holders that are active military members will be dressed in uniform and will hold a large American flag on the field during the national anthem.
● Soldier Salute – The Vikings will salute former Navy Lieutenant and Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame member Stan Nelson. Nelson, an officer of the United States Navy during World War II, was on board one of the first landing crafts to touch down on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. After serving for the remainder of the war, Nelson returned to Minnesota where he had a Hall of Fame career coaching football at Anoka High School.
● Equipment – Coaches, players and officials will wear camouflage-branded game apparel to raise awareness for the fight. Game-used items, along with game balls and a custom game coin, will be auctioned off at NFL Auction with 100 percent of net proceeds donated to the league's core military non-profit partners.
● Minuteman Award – At Sunday's game, Major General Rick Nash will present a Minuteman statue to the Minnesota Vikings organization. The Minuteman represents the National Guard's ability to quickly transform from citizens during peace to soldiers in times of need at home and abroad. This statue symbolizes the 10-year partnership between the Vikings and the Minnesota National Guard and a way to thank the fans for their support of all service members.
● Salute to Service Award – Vikings P Jeff Lockeis the team's nominee this season for the fourth annual Salute to Service Award. Locke was nominated by the club because he demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. His father, Bob, is a member of the Air Force and Locke was born in Frankfurt, Germany while his father was stationed there. Locke has donated time and money to VA Hospitals and this summer participated in The Longest Day of Golf event as part of Tee It Up for the Troops. The Salute to Service award winner will be announced on January 31, 2015 at the annual NFL Honors Awards Show in Arizona.