MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings current players and alumni on Tuesday participated in the team's eighth annual visit to the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System to express their sincere gratitude for service and sacrifice of American heroes.
The Vikings met veterans in the hospital's Community Living Center and also visited the Spinal Cord Injury Center, stopping in the physical therapy room to encourage veterans who are rehabilitating injuries.
Nick Easton, whose grandfather served in the military, appreciated the opportunity to connect with the veterans and hear their "stories of bravery and honor and valor."
"People think we brighten their day, but they brighten our day," Easton said. "It's honestly an amazing experience."
Easton, who suffered a season-ending injury in training camp, was joined by Cornelius Edison and Reshard Cliett, and Vikings Legends Dave Osborn, Wes Hamilton, Greg Coleman and Ryan Hoag.
Osborn, who is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings, sported a Salute to Service edition Vikings hat. He has become an annual attendee capable of connecting with the veterans, many of whom are of a similar age.
John C. Elliott, who served in the Marines from 1964-68 before working with Vikings Director of Security Kim Klawiter the Minnesota State Patrol, said appreciation has improved from the time when he and other service members returned from Vietnam.
"There was nothing for us, no thanks," Elliott said of the late '60s and early '70s. "It seems like we get more congratulations now than when we came back."