Locke donates money to VA Medical Center

Vikings rookie Jeff Locke worked out a deal with Josh Freeman that money for a jersey switch be donated to the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis. That donation will be made by Locke today.

Sometimes, in all the bile that gets thrown at us on a daily basis if we choose to follow the news, there's typically that one "good" story. If you're watching the TV news, it's usually the show-ender to get an "Ahh!" out of the viewing audience.

For those who lose sight of what the Vikings mean to the fabric of the community they represent, may we offer up the story of Vikings punter Jeff Locke.

Fortunately, there weren't too many people that ran out after draft weekend to get the No. 12 Locke jersey. NFL.com wasn't deluged. No store clerk ever said, "We can't keep it in stock."

Locke now wears No. 18. He gave up his No. 12 because that has always been Josh Freeman's number. Freeman gave Locke $10,000 to give up his number.

A fifth-round rookie doesn't get paid an inordinate amount of money by NFL standards and his job security is almost literally on a week-to-week basis. Freeman, who is being paid $2 million this year by the Vikings and has only played one game for them since signing in early October, opted to offer up the lowest end of five figures to see if Locke would part with his jersey number.

He did.

It would be hard to get an accurate gauge of how many people would just quietly pocket ten-large and get on with their lives. Locke didn't.

Today is an off-day for the Vikings. It is also a community day for those NFL players who choose to brighten up the day of others. This morning, Viking players, including Locke, John Sullivan, A.J. Jefferson, Brandan Bishop, Rhett Ellison and Justin Trattou will visit the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Minneapolis. Along with Locke will come the $10,000 he received from Freeman to change his number.

Locke will donate the $10,000 he got to switch uniforms to the VA Medical Center.

Had Locke decided to keep it quiet and pocket the ten-large, nobody would have been the wiser. If he and Freeman had kept it to themselves, it could be seen as a selfless act of a rookie punter for a quarterback the Vikings may view as a long-term QB solution.

Today, Locke is doing a selfless act. He is giving the $10,000 he got to change jerseys to veterans trying to mend.

Had the Vikings not been in Minnesota, such a personal donation would not have been made. Locke didn't have to. He did.

As the NFL finalized it's weekend tribute to the military, people like Locke are making a difference at the local level and show why those who fought to keep the Vikings in Minnesota argued the contribution they make to the quality of life in the state.


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.

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