Christian Ponder (Bruce Kluckhohn/US Presswire)
The Vikings’ big summer charitable effort, the Ride For Life Motorcycle Rally, will take place Saturday with a few current players participating.
One of the highlights of the Vikings’ charitable endeavors will take place Saturday when current and former Vikings take part in the 18th Annual Ride For Life Motorcycle Rally from the Twin Cities to the Grand Casino Hinckley’s Outdoor Amphitheatre.
The Ride For Life is the summer equivalent to February’s Arctic Blast, both of which benefit the Vikings Children’s Fund. Since 1978, the Vikings have raised $10 million for research toward curing childhood illness. A partnership forged with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Pediatrics has helped find breakthroughs in the management and cure of childhood illnesses that formerly were a near-death sentence for the kids and their families.
The ride will start at the Blue Heron Grill in Hugo – a far northern suburb of the Twin Cities. Day-of-event registration will start at the Blue Heron at 9 a.m., as well as 12:30 p.m. in Hinckley. Those along for the motorcycle caravan (as well as non-riders wanting to get in on the convoy) will depart Hugo at 1 p.m. for the 50-mile trip to Hinckley. While some motorcycle enthusiasts could get that down in about 35 minutes, the Sons of Anarchy will hit Hinckley about 2 p.m.
Current Vikings Christian Ponder, John Sullivan, Toby Gerhart and D’Aundre Reed will be among the list of players taking part in the event, as well as several former Vikings of Minnesota lore. It’s a rare opportunity for Vikings fans to rub shoulders and update Facebook photos.
The Ride For Life is part of the ongoing Vikings commitment to charitable causes, highlighted by the Viking Children’s Fund. Vikings cheerleaders will be on hand to pose for photos and sign calendars and team mascot Viktor will also be on hand.
For those who want to take part in the Ride For Life, whether as a biker or a follower, the participation cost is a $15 donation to the VCF, which makes one eligible for prizes at the ending point in Hinckley. More than $20,000 in prizes will be given out, including a $5,000 cash grand prize – which may or may not leave suburban Hinckley.
The event is supported by the Minnesota State Patrol, which will oversee the ride route, as well as local law enforcement. For more information, call the Vikings event line at 952-828-6577.
Offensive lineman Grant Feasal, who played for the Vikings from 1984-86, the only period in Viking history in which a player had three different head coaches in three seasons, will be buried Friday at the age of 52. Feasal died Sunday. The cause of death has yet to be revealed.
The first battle line that may be drawn between the Metrodome and the Vikings’ temporary home, the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, won’t be about selling beer, it will be about selling soda. The university has a licensing deal with Coca Cola, while the Vikings had an exclusive soda deal with Pepsi. One of Pepsico’s holdings is Gatorade, which is an official sponsor of the NFL. This problem is multi-layered in that the contract the U of M has with Coca Cola may pose problems for the Vikings and the NFL. It won’t be an issue in the Gatorade realm – Coke has been the Mr. Pibb of the sports drink market trying to dent the dominance of Gatorade – but Pepsi and Coca Cola are media giants in their own right and both have fought to lock down NFL teams and players to be their spokespeople. Who would have thought that a soda war could be a sticking point in the Vikings temporary nomad status?
Former Viking Lorenzo Booker has found a new job, but one has to wonder what the point is? On Tuesday, a day after the Bears signed Matt Forte to a long-term deal and, the team announced it signed Booker to a one-year deal. Of all the teams where Booker could land, having Forte signed and sealed and Michael Bush waiting in the wings, one has to wonder what kind of chance Booker will have to see the field?
Gov. Mark Dayton, never one to avoid an available horse apple to step in, said Tuesday on Minnesota Public Radio that he was concerned by a recent list of player arrests on various charges, saying, “Idle time is the devil’s playground.”
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.