The Minnesota Vikings will highlight year-round social justice efforts through the NFL’s “Inspire Change” campaign this Sunday, December 24, when the team hosts the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Since its inception, the Vikings player-led Social Justice Committee and the Wilf family have allocated a total of $7.5 million, including $500,000 this year in funding to engage with the community regarding issues of social justice.
The entire NFL family is committed to conversations and actions that move us towards a more equal and just tomorrow. Inspire Change showcases how NFL players, clubs, and the league are joining together to ensure that access to opportunity is a reality for all and to create progress in police-community relations, criminal justice reform, and education and economic advancement. Fans will see in-stadium elements and video content during in-game broadcasts to amplify the impactful social justice work done by players, clubs, the league, and social justice grant partners, in an effort to break down barriers to opportunity and end systemic racism. Join the conversation using #InspireChange.
The following elements will be seen throughout Sunday’s game:
Field Markings and Apparel
The end zones will be marked with “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” while there will be additional sideline stencils that display “Inspire Change.” There will be goal post wraps and wall banners with the Inspire Change logo. Additionally, Nike Inspire Change branded t-shirts and hoodies and New Era Inspire Change branded headwear will be worn by coaches, players and all sideline personnel, and Inspire Change logo decals will be added to helmets. This will be a unified league-wide message across all clubs for Week 15 and 16 matchups.
NFL Inspire Change Changemaker Award/U.S. Bank Hometown Hero
Mark Graves is the winner of the NFL Inspire Change Changemaker award and the U.S. Bank Hometown Hero. The Inspire Change Changemaker Award recognizes an individual in each NFL team market making a difference in their community with their social justice work. Each Changemaker will receive a $I0,000 donation from the NFL Foundation, paid directly to a non-profit organization of their choice. Mark is the branch director of the Southside Village Boys and Girls club. The Boys and Girls club mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need the program most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. They provide services from kindergarten to high school and hope to impact each member by keeping them on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, while demonstrating good character and leadership, and living a healthy lifestyle. Mark will attend the game with a number of Boys and Girls Club members this Sunday.
Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo will perform the National Anthem. Tuaolo played for the Vikings from 1992-1996. A contestant on Season 13 of The Voice in 2017, he has performed the National Anthem at multiple sporting events. As a dedicated LGBTQ+ advocate and public speaker, Tuaolo has made appearances on several TV programs, testified at the state legislature, and spoke at various colleges and organizations.
Winter Whiteout Game Theme
As part of the Winter Whiteout, players will wear white-on-white uniforms for only the second time at home in the regular season. The mid-field Norseman will be painted white while Viktor, Vikings Cheerleaders, the Skol Line and flag runners will also wear white themed uniforms. This year, 3M is helping bring the Winter Whiteout game to life by installing Vikings marks and ice shards on the Legacy Gate doors. Using their Opaque White Vinyl and Dichroic Chill Glass Finish, the images will appear to change colors when viewed at different angles.
Vikings Fan of the Year Recognition
The NFL Fan of the Year competition is an annual celebration of extraordinary fans who inspire others through their love of football and exemplify every aspect of what it truly means to be a fan. The Vikings 2023 Fan of the Year is Maria Hauger. The Haugers have had Vikings Season Tickets in their family since the team’s inaugural 1961 season. Maria’s favorite player is John Randle. Each nominee chosen will represent their team at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on February 11.
In-game Presentation – All State Team Recognition
Since 2002, the Minnesota Vikings have recognized the state’s top football players as a part of the Minnesota High School All-State Team. Made up of the state’s premiere senior prospects, the team is selected by a committee of sportswriters, broadcasters, Vikings staff and Minnesota high school football coaches. The Coach of the Year this year is Mike Diggins from Centennial High School, and Mr. Football is Max Woods from Chanhassen High School.
(info courtesy of Vikings)