The sights and sounds at Pinewood Elementary School in Eagan on Wednesday, May 30 were reminiscent of a football game, as students welcomed about 30 Minnesota Vikings players, coaches and staff for a day of educational and exciting activities.
Morning sessions included Vikings-themed art projects and trivia, as well as the chance for students to learn more about the organization with staff members. But the real fun came in the afternoon when a caravan of Vikings players — including star wide receiver Adam Theilen and defensive end Danielle Hunter, as well as Minnesota boys Marcus Sherels and C.J. Ham — pulled up to the front entrance. Flanked by students in paper horned viking helmets all shouting the “SKOL” chant, players made their way into the school.
In the gym, players and students got to work showing off their athletic abilities with several games, and in a nearby classroom players held a question-and-answer session. At the end of the visit, players handed out backpacks with books and encouraged students to continue improving their reading skills over the summer.
The visit is part of the Vikings’ annual “Team Up to Give Back” initiative, which is an opportunity for all players, coaches and staff to give back to the communities that are home to their stadium and training facilities. In past years, the team chose a school at which to build a playground. However, a new social impact model was implemented and the organization is instead creating a new event each year to fulfill its mission.
The Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan opened its doors in March, and players said the wanted to make sure they were good neighbors. Pinewood Elementary was one of three schools in Eagan to receive a visit from the Vikings.