The Vikings conduct events throughout the year to benefit the Vikings Children’s Fund, but there are two that are the primary fundraising events – involving vehicles alternately popular in Minnesota – snowmobiles and motorcycles.
The mid-summer Ride For Life is one of those events. Shorts and tank tops – where the phrase, “On me, it’s a muscle shirt. On you, it’s a tank top” come into play – are the apparel of choice. For the Arctic Blast, the winter primary fundraiser for the VCF, it’s layering of clothing that makes the most sense and even the most curvaceous of Vikings fans look pedestrian in a five-layer outfit capped with a snowmobile suit.
The 19th Annual Minnesota Vikings Arctic Blast Snowmobile Rally will take place Friday to Sunday at Lake Mille Lacs in Central Minnesota. The event will feature a slew of current and former players and coaches, team executives and the Vikings cheerleaders
Among those scheduled to attend are Vikings front office personnel Mike Zimmer, Rick Spielman, George Paton, Lester Bagley, Rob Brzezinski, Steve LaCroix and Steve Poppen, current players Harrison Smith, Matt Kalil, Brandon Fusco, Everson Griffen, Jerome Simpson, Toby Gerhart, Andrew Sendejo and Larry Dean, and Vikings alumni Bud Grant, Robert Griffith, Steve Jordan, Carl Lee, Bob Lurtsema, Darrin Nelson, Sean Salisbury, Doug Sutherland and Robert Tate.
The weekend begins with a parade at 7:30 p.m. Friday, featuring Zimmer and former and current Vikings players. On Saturday, the ride around Lake Mille Lacs will take place with numerous giveaways, prizes and games for the whole family. On Sunday, a prize party will be held with more than $30,000 in prizes being awarded, including a grand prize of a new Arctic Cat snowmobile or ATV.
For more information, go to the Vikings team website for how to register and the full schedule of events.
One of the first signs that an NFL season is over is that high-priced veteran players are released. Atlanta got $6.4 million back into its books by releasing CB Asante Samuel and LB Stephen Nicholas.
Had the Super Bowl been on Monday of this week, the headlines would have been on the cold-city disaster and the discomfort of stadium patrons. The clement weather (as opposed to the anticipated inclement) may have helped grease the skids for the Vikings to get a Super Bowl offer extended. A snowstorm may well have killed any short-term opportunity.
The announcement Wednesday that CBS would be taking over a portion of the NFL Network Thursday night broadcasts didn’t include the portion in which CBS will produce all the game programming, even those on the NFL Network. The result is going to be that, by “farming out” the Thursday night production to a television network, the NFL Network can get out of game production and selling the Thursday night rights to a network as part of the ever-expanding TV deal. Media critics railed on the NFL for developing a network to compete with its own product. However, as things appear to heading, the NFL will get out of the broadcasting of its own games, while dangling a new carrot to competing networks. ABC? A return of Must-See Thursday on NBC, which has the rights to the other two Thursday night games – the season kickoff opener and Thanksgiving in prime time? TBS? PBS? They wouldn’t need Pledge Weeks if they landed Thursday football. The NFL finds way to expand its brand at all turns. The transfer of Thursday night games outside the network house is the beginning of the competition. Want to kill in the ratings on Thursday night, especially during the fall ratings sweeps? The NFL is waiting to give you a golden ticket … for a price.
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.