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'Vikings SKOL Chant' Stirs Emotion in Locker Room & Iceland

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Another chapter is being added to Vikings lore.

The Vikings opened their cutting-edge home at U.S. Bank Stadium by introducing a new tradition, the "Vikings SKOL Chant."

During the Vikings home opener against the Packers Sept. 18, Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton led a sea of purple in the new ritual. Fans raised their arms in the shape of a V, waited for two drum beats separated by a dramatic pause, then clapped their hands while chanting "SKOL" in unison. As the pattern repeated, the tempo increased.

"That was crazy," Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "I didn't know it was going to be that crazy, but when they got it down, I was like, 'Wow. Keep doing it!' And it was great."

Receiver Charles Johnson said he thought the chant was "really cool," especially after fans united their rhythm.

"Some people were offbeat a little bit, but you know, first time, a little rusty," Johnson said with a laugh. "You have to try it out a little bit. I think it was definitely cool to get everybody going like that – it was exciting out there."

The chant is a modified version of the stirring "Vikings War Chant" that swept across the globe when the Icelandic National Soccer Team returned home to 35,000 fans after its upset of England at the Euro 2016.

Vikings Vice President of Content and Production Bryan Harper saw the Icelandic chant in videos and was drawn to it – and he wasn't the only one.

"It was super-intimidating, showing people together in unison. Immediately after it, I saw it and people are texting me," Harper said. "Over the course of the next day, we got hundreds of emails from fans, 'We've got to do this,' and we're the only team that can do it.

"This came from the fans. This is the best part about it," Harper added. "When stuff comes from the fans, it's more authentic."

View fan images from Sunday's game between the Vikings and Packers.

Aron Gunnarsson, the captain of the Icelandic Soccer Team, and Thor Bjornsson, who stars as "The Mountain" in Game of Thrones, appeared in a video to help transfer the chant to Vikings fans.

After seeing the response from Vikings fans at the Packers game, Gunnarsson said it was a bit surreal to see the tradition adopted – and adapted – by an NFL team.

"It was pretty special," Gunnarrson told Iceland reporter Eiríkur Stefán Ásgeirsson, as translated through Google Chrome. "You realized that the Viking [Chant] has become [major] and world famous. Therefore [it's] noticed almost wherever [one] goes."

Quarterback Sam Bradford made his Minnesota debut in a game of firsts, and he said he was impressed by the energy of the Vikings fans.

"That's one of the best atmospheres I've probably ever played in," Bradford said. "Our fans were tremendous."

As Bradford continues to lead the Vikings, the team hopes to hear the Vikings SKOL Chant as a regular battle cry.

And Minnesota gained one more fan who will be cheering from across the world.

Although he didn't watch much of the NFL beyond the Super Bowl in years past, Gunnarrson said he has no choice but to now join the purple and gold.

"It must be so," Gunnarrson said.

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