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Vikings & U.S. Bank 'Team Up to Give Back' to Local Elementary Schools 

EAGAN, Minn. – The energy was palpable.

Students ran from one drill station to another, yelling excitedly and cheering for their classmates as they ran ladder drills, aimed to kick a football through inflatable uprights or leapt to catch a pass.

The Vikings last week teamed up with U.S. Bank and hosted two elementary schools – Frost Lake (St. Paul) and Cityview Community School (Minneapolis) – for a field day and book fair at TCO Stadium.

"It's fun. I had a good time, probably as much as they did," smiled Vikings receiver Jordan Addison. "Just seeing them all running around, living freely, the light shining in their eyes, it was just a good experience."

Addison never had the opportunity to meet a professional athlete growing up, so he noted his desire to make a positive impact on the youngsters.

"It shows them that they can … get here, too," he said. "It's just always so cool to be here with kids, giving back and showing them that the future is bright."

Fellow receiver Trishton Jackson, who played flag football with some of the Frost Lake students, echoed Addison's sentiments.

"I love the energy. It reminds me of myself when I was a little kid," Jackson said. "Especially having the opportunity to hang out with us [as Vikings players] and see the joy on their faces, I love it. I love stuff like this.

"The fact that they can see we're real people and actually care about them [is important]," Jackson added. "I love doing things like this, and I know they have a great time. … They can see that we're down to earth, they can ask us questions, they can just be kids. It's a lot of fun."

Addison and Jackson were joined by Vikings staff member volunteers and numerous teammates, including Brian O'Neill, Garrett Bradbury, Dan Feeney, Jaren Hall, Jay Ward, Ryan Wright, NaJee Thompson, Jaquelin Roy, Ed Ingram and Trent Sherfield, Sr., among others.

Vikings rookies, including first-round draft pick J.J. McCarthy, participated in the morning field session with Cityview Community School, while vets and the Vikings coaching staff tackled the afternoon session with Frost Lake.

Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell visited each session to address the full groups, encouraging them to keep doing well in school and leading a SKOL Chant.

"I think it's really fun when you have kids out here are huge Vikings fans, they love all things Vikings, and then there will be 10 of you around and they're like, 'Hey, who are you?' " Phillips said with a laugh. "I think it's cool to [meet them in this capacity] and get that 1-on-1 interaction.

"It's one thing where players get in front of a full school and talk to 200 kids but don't have a lot of interaction, where here I'm looking and seeing a lot of my teammates go pull that one kid who's kind of off to the side and make a very lasting impact – something that 9- or 10-year-old will never forget," Phillips continued. "I think it's really cool that Kevin and [General Manager] Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah] and the Wilfs have brought in amazing players who also have great character."

Minnesota Vikings partnered with U.S. Bank to host the Team Up to Give Back event.

As Addison enters his second NFL season, he's already learned plenty from Phillips and other teammates about making a difference in the Twin Cities community, and he's following in their footsteps.

"It shows that what you do off the field, there are people paying attention to it and they're [really impacted]," Addison said. "It's opening my eyes, as well, and I'm just learning from everybody, as well as learning from the kids and just having fun."

In addition to participating in the field day, students had the opportunity to peruse a pop-up Scholastic book fair set up on the stadium's concourse. Thanks to the generosity of U.S. Bank, each youngster could select three books apiece. They each were also gifted a copy of Where's Viktor's Mustache? by the Vikings.

"Every time the book fair came, we used to be able to get out of class, and they'd have it all set up nice," Addison said. "But having it here in the Vikings facility? Man, I couldn't even imagine what that would be like for these kids. It's pretty cool."