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52 from 52: Happenings from 10 Days of 'Bold North' Super Bowl LII 

52 from 52: Happenings from 10 Days of 'Bold North' Super Bowl LII 


Super Bowl LII has come and gone in a whirlwind.

There were so many sights to see and things to do during the 10-day festival that was organized for the game, along with recognitions for Vikings Legends and an opportunity for Minnesota to put its best boot-covered foot forward.

It was impossible to get to everything, but here are 52 happenings — in no particular order — from the “Bold North,” a truly distinctive environment that admirably hosted an action-packed game.

1. Super Bowl Experience

For 10 days leading up to Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium, NFL fans could visit the Minneapolis Convention Center and check out the Super Bowl Experience, which offered fun for all ages, from traveling exhibits that showcase the NFL to hands-on activities.

2. Kickoff concert

Tony Award-winning actress and singer Idina Menzel helped Minnesota kick off 10 days of Super Bowl LIVE when she sang her hit song “Let It Go” (featured in Disney’s Frozen), a tune that fit the Super Bowl’s “Bold North” theme.

3. Randy Moss named as 2018 HOF inductee

Former Vikings WR Randy Moss became just the third receiver in NFL history to be a first-ballot inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During NFL Honors on the eve of the Super Bowl, Moss was named as one of the eight inductees for 2018. Moss will join Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard.

4. Polaris ‘UpsideDownTown’ jump

As part of Super Bowl LIVE, Polaris launched an outdoor show that featured Minnesota native Levi LaVallee, along with several of the world’s most skilled freestyle snowmobile athletes. LaVallee concluded the show with a backflip on his snowmobile, launching nearly 100 feet in a never-before-attempted stunt across Nicollet Mall. And he executed the stunt while wearing Vikings colors, of course.

5. Super Bowl LIVE ice sculptures

Fans visiting Nicollet Mall for Super Bowl LIVE had several photo ops to visit along the way, including a number of unique ice sculptures. In addition to smaller sculptures that included a gjallarhorn, an NFL football and the Lombardi Trophy, two larger sculptures displayed the Super Bowl LII Roman numerals chiseled out of ice.

6. Birkie Bridge at Super Bowl LIVE

Another element of the free, 10-day festival was the American Birkebeiner International “Birkie” Bridge that was moved from Hayward, Wisconsin and constructed in downtown Minneapolis. The 200-foot Birkie ran between 8th and 10th Streets, arching over 9th Street. The bridge featured a number of unique events each day, including snow hill tubing, snowshoeing lessons, fat bike lessons and competitions, adaptive skiing lessons, Junior Loppet practice and skijoring races.

7. ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ wins Play of the Year

Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs took home an award from NFL Honors, when the “Minneapolis Miracle” was named the Bridgestone Elite Performance Play of the Year. The 61-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to Diggs as time expired in the Division round playoff game against the Saints advanced the Vikings to the NFC Championship game.

8. Shurmur named Offensive Coordinator of the Year

Pat Shurmur, who recently was named the new head coach of the New York Giants, was named the Offensive Coordinator of the Year after his second season with the Vikings.

Shurmur helped the Vikings improve in a number of offensive categories, including improving from 46 percent success in the red zone in 2016 to 59.9 percent in the red zone during the 2017 season.

9. Vikings host Legends Luncheon for alumni

A large number of Vikings alumni were honored leading up to Super Bowl LII at the Legends Luncheon.

10. ‘Kids Presser’ a big hit at U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital

NFL players are used to speaking with media members and holding press conferences, but several of them had a unique experience on Friday when they answered questions from youth. The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital hosted a “Kids Presser” that allowed young patients to ask questions of Bills C Eric Wood and Vikings teammates Michael Floyd, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph. Former Viking and HOF QB Brett Favre was a surprise guest, as well.

11. Harris, Weatherly join NFL Commission for ‘Unsung Heroes’ panel

Vikings teammates Anthony Harris and Steven Weatherly joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens TE Ben Watson to speak out against domestic violence, physical assault and human trafficking.

12. Players’ wives, girlfriends take the field for charity

It isn’t only the men who play football during Super Bowl week. On Saturday before the big game, wives, girlfriends and family members of Vikings, Eagles and Patriots players came together and played flag football for a cause. MATTER, a local nonprofit, also partnered with the event.

13. NFL puts on 3rd-annual Women’s Summit

An audience of female football fans enjoyed an opportunity at the third-annual NFL Women’s Summit to hear from a number of NFL voices on women working in the NFL. Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf shared a story of his grandmother’s courage in surviving the Holocaust, and NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar were among the influential speakers and panelists.

14. Taste of the NFL raises money for Second Harvest Heartland

On the eve of Super Bowl LII, Taste of the NFL held its 27th annual “Party With a Purpose,” in which all proceeds directly supported hunger relief. Guests enjoyed excellent food from all over the nation while having the opportunity to bid on silent auction items and meet past and current NFL players.

The Vikings were represented by Hall of Fame G Randall McDaniel, who was the team’s player rep and appeared at the Vikings food station, and former LB Ben Leber, this year’s player host.

15. Morstead and Sherels unite for donation delivery

Saints P Thomas Morstead and Vikings PR Marcus Sherels, whom Morstead was tackling when he cracked a rib in the Division round playoff game, teamed up for a good cause Friday. Morstead was blown away by Vikings fans who donated more than $200,000 to his “What You Give Will Grow” foundation in response to the sportsmanship he displayed in Minnesota.

Morstead decided to return the money to the Twin Cities community, and he made the donation to the Child Life program at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

16. Children’s hospital patient receives Super Bowl surprise

Morstead also helped Sherels and the Vikings Foundation, in partnership with the United Heroes League, surprise Devyn, a young patient recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor, with tickets to Super Bowl LII. Devyn’s father was killed in the 2009 Fort Hood tragedy, and his mother expressed gratefulness for the kind gesture after the family had been through so much difficulty.

17. Alan Page presents exhibit, receives award

Hall of Fame DT and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and his wife, Diane, enabled a powerful journey through American history by presenting artifacts in a Testify: Americana from Slavery to Today exhibit inside Cargill Hall at Hennepin County Library on Nicollet Mall.

The collection was arranged by Georgi Page-Smith, one of the Pages’ daughters, and was curated to bear witness to the past through a truthful retelling of the complicated story of America.

Page received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fritz Pollard Alliance in a Thursday ceremony at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and was recognized during the game when he participated in an on-field interview with game host Scott Hanson.

18. ‘Skolbadiah’ heads to the Super Bowl

Obadiah Gamble, better known as “Skolbadiah” by some Vikings fans, was surprised with tickets to Super Bowl LII by former Vikings LB Chad Greenway through his “Lead the Way” Foundation. Although the Vikings fell one game short of the Super Bowl, Skolbadiah proudly wore his Purple and Gold to the big game.

19. NFL alumni, Wounded Warriors compete for good cause

Former NFL players, including Vikings Legends Robert Smith, Rich Gannon and Ben Leber, competed in a flag football game against the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team to raise money for a good cause.

20. Polar Plunge raises money for Special Olympics during Super Bowl week

Minnesotans are familiar with the Polar Plunge activity that raises money for the Special Olympics, and it was fitting that the event hold a series of events in the “Bold North” during the week of Super Bowl LII. In addition to the main locations, visitors to Super Bowl LIVE also had a chance to take a plunge at Nicollet Mall.

21. PLAY 60 Kids Day at Super Bowl Experience

The Vikings hosted more than 2,000 Minnesota students to participate in PLAY 60-related physical activities and go behind the scenes of Super Bowl Experience. YouTube sensation JoJo Siwa led the students and NFL players through different stations, and to cap off the day, Frost Lake Elementary received a $2,500 check from the NFL and the American Heart Association.

22. Final Super Bowl LII grant awarded to Anwatin Middle School

As part of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s “52 Weeks of Giving” campaign, the final grant was given on Feb. 1. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Gov. Mark Dayton and Vikings Owners Zygi, Mark and Lenny Wilf were in attendance for the donation.

The MNSBHC Legacy Fund awarded a grant of $220,000 to Anwatin Middle School in Minneapolis to help upgrade its athletic field to support flag football, soccer, cross country and other recreation and establish an Indigenous garden at the school. The MNSBHC’s Legacy Fund awarded $5 million in grants in the past year.

23. Walter Payton ‘Man of the Year’ forum

In a unique fan experience, a number of guests were able to observe the Walter Payton Man of the Year fan forum, which was hosted at Mayo Clinic Square.

Attendees heard from finalists Greg Olsen (Panthers), Ben Watson (Ravens) and J.J. Watt (Texans). 

24. J.J. Watt named the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named this year’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in recognition of his work to raise funds for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston.

25. Anthony Barr participates in STEM panel for middle school students

Vikings LB Anthony Barr participated in a panel discussion with young STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) students from Franklin Middle School about the ways technology and the sciences can lead to a career in the NFL, even if it’s not on the field.

26. Tony Dungy recognized as St. Jude receives a boost

Former Gophers defensive back and Vikings Defensive Coordinator Tony Dungy returned to Minnesota as part of NBC’s coverage team of Super Bowl LII.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame coach with Tampa Bay and Indianapolis was reunited with several former Colts, including Peyton Manning, Jeff Saturday and Ben Utecht, at the Legends for Charity fundraiser dinner to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Dungy was presented the Pat Summerall Award in recognition of excellence in broadcasting, and the event raised more than $300,000 to fight cancer. That amount included a $100,000 donation by Packers Pro Bowl DT Mike Daniels.

27. Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl

The Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl in Minneapolis on Thursday featured current and former players to raise awareness of modern agriculture.

During the live event that took place at the University of Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena, six teams – each with one athlete and one Land O’Lakes member farmer – competed in a series of five challenges to be crowned Farm Bowl champions. The challenges included the Tractor Tire Change, Milk Pipe Maze, Drone Drop, Hay Bale Backup and Feed Run.

According to Daily Norseman writer Eric Thompson, although Stefon Diggs and his partner, dairy farmer J.J. Nunes, took a bit to find their rhythm, “nothing is over when Stefon Diggs is involved.” Diggs and Nunes rallied in the final event and took home the Farm Bowl trophy.

28. Kids Tailgate Party

Young football fans enjoyed a special tailgate party just for them, hosted at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Young people had the chance to take fun photos, participate in Super Bowl-related activities and meet members of Minnesota pro sports teams, including Vikings DE Everson Griffen. The local teams’ mascots also were on hand for the party.

29. Super Bowl LII Opening Night

Media members and fans from all over the country gathered at the Excel Energy Center on Jan. 29 for Super Bowl LII Opening Night, where players and coaches from the participating teams were available for podium sessions with the media.

30. Hallmark Channel Kitten Bowl

The Hallmark Channel Kitten Bowl was a hit with fans of all ages. Many of the “cat-letes” – all of which were available for adoptions – had NFL-related names, including Mew Brees.

31. Radio Row at MOA

The Mall of America provided a unique and fitting location for Super Bowl LII’s Radio Row, where radio personalities from across the country congregated to broadcast live from the Twin Cities. Numerous Vikings players joined both local and national shows as guests throughout the week leading up to the big game.

32. Bold North Zip Line

Thrill seekers had a unique opportunity in the 10 days leading up to Super Bowl LII, during which the Bold North Zip Line sent riders across a nearly 800-foot span of the Mississippi River at more than 100 feet in the air. Ten thousand tickets sold out in minutes.

33. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer attends NFL Honors

Multiple big names traveled the red carpet at the NFL Honors, a signature award show that aired Saturday night, including Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer. Zimmer spoke with Vikings.com’s Mike Wobschall about time at his ranch, being a Coach of the Year candidate and player and coach performances.

34. Brad Paisley at Sleep Number

Country music artist Brad Paisley not only was in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII, but he surprised fans with a performance at the Sleep Number activation at the Mall of America.

35. Honoring Prince’s memory during Super Bowl LII

Although the Vikings fell just short of appearing in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium, much of Minneapolis was still painted in Purple throughout the week.

Accolades to Prince were seen across the city, from an in-store display at the NFL Shop in the Convention Center to a special tribute by Justin Timberlake during the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime performance.

36. Justin Timberlake halftime performance

Singer-songwriter and four-time Emmy Award winner Justin Timberlake put on quite the show for Super Bowl LII guests during the Pepsi Halftime Show. Timberlake performed a number of his hits, including “Mirrors” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders and the University of Minnesota marching band members also were included in Timberlake’s performance.

37. P!nk’s performance of National Anthem

The National Anthem was performed by singer-songwriter P!nk, who delivered a strong and captivating performance despite fighting the flu.

38. ‘America the Beautiful’ performance by Leslie Odom, Jr.

Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr., was accompanied by ComMUSICation and Angelica Cantanti youth choirs in singing “America the Beautiful” before the game.

39. Chad Greenway hosts Super Bowl party for children’s hospital patients

Former Vikings LB Chad Greenway continues to be at work in the local community through his Lead the Way Foundation. Through his foundation, Greenway hosted a Super Bowl LII party for patients at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in the week leading up to the big game. Greenway, who also was captain of the Crew 52 volunteers who helped make Super Bowl LII such a success, was joined by Vikings LS Kevin McDermott.

40. Shriner’s hospital

To kick off Super Bowl week, Shriners Hospital for Children – Twin Cities hosted a PLAY 60 All-Ability event for patients. Following the event, Vikings players Nick Easton, Aviante Collins, Jeremiah Sirles and Kevin McDermott shared a meal with the patients and their families.

41. Rudolph partners with Starkey to host Pro Camp

Kyle Rudolph teamed up with Starkey Hearing to host the 2018 Super Pro Camp for youth to meet one of their favorite Vikings, learn more about football and practice specific drills taught by Rudolph and the camp coaches. Garth Brooks, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, also was a special guest at the event.

42. Kendricks, Sirles put a ‘spin’ on Pictionary

With the help of Sports Illustrated, Vikings LB Eric Kendricks and OL Jeremiah Sirles put a “spin” on the classic game of Pictionary. The two were asked to play the game while riding a roller coaster at Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe. The results were … entertaining.

43. Jimmy Fallon hosts Tonight Show from Orpheum Theater

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon broadcasted live after the Super Bowl from the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. Fallon’s guests included Justin Timberlake and the cast of the NBC hit show, This Is Us. Fallon also performed a unique tribute to esteemed singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, a Minnesota native who formerly owned The Orpheum.

44. Superb Owl Party

Vikings executives and players hosted the “Superb Owl Party” on Feb. 2 as a fundraiser for Arete Academy, the first Twice-Exceptional school in Minnesota.

45. Sting and Darius Rucker perform at NFL Tailgate

Fans who attended an exclusive NFL Tailgate leading up to Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 were treated to performances by Sting and country music artist Darius Rucker.

46. Former Vikings WR Greg Jennings helps showcase money-management video game

On Jan. 31, former Vikings receiver Greg Jennings coached a group of Twin Cities-area high school students in a different kind of football – Financial Football. Jennings was assisted by representatives from U.S. Bank, the Minnesota Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and Visa.

Financial Football is a fast-paced, high-energy educational video game with an accompanying classroom curriculum where students answer questions about an array of financial topics, including budgeting saving and investing. Correct answers help teams move the ball down the field and score points. Wrong answers lead to a defensive stop or possible turnover. The game, which utilizes content from Visa’s free, online personal finance education program, Practical Money Skills, is part of a nationwide financial education effort, now entering its 13th season, between Visa, the National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Players Association.

Jennings shared his personal experience about growing up dealing with finances and life in the NFL before splitting up to coach separate teams comprised of Twin Cities-area students.

“I think there can be a big misconception that professional athletes don’t have to worry about managing money, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to convey to students that is the furthest thing from the truth,” said Jennings. “Since sports careers don’t last forever, it is important that kids, especially those who want to grow up and be professional athletes, understand that they need to have the tools and the understanding to take care of their money when those careers come to an end.”

47. Schwan’s Tailgate Truck Tower

One of the many unique activations at Super Bowl LIVE was the Schwan’s Tailgate Truck Tower, where guests could enjoy samples of their favorite Schwan’s food as well as meet NFL players and compete in trivia.

48. Timberwolves’ KAT joins Super Bowl sidelines as guest photographer

Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, a New Jersey native, is a dedicated Eagles fan and was on the sidelines at U.S. Bank Stadium for the big game.

Towns represented The Players’ Tribune at Super Bowl LII and shot photos from the game.

49. Lindsay Whalen

During the week of Super Bowl LII, Minnesota native and Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen teamed up with ESPNW and Sarah Spain for a tour of her favorite Twin Cities hot spots.

50. Ice Fishing (Today Show and Peter King)

Can you really have the full Minnesota experience without trying your hand at ice fishing?

NBC’s Al Roker and Craig Melvin gave it a go on Lake of the Isles before warming up with a Juicy Lucy from Matt’s

Peter King of the Monday Morning Quarterback also braved the cold to check ice fishing off his bucket list, and he was hosted by none other than Vikings Assistant Director of Public Relations Tom West. The video is definitely worth a watch.

51. Stadium on display for TV audience of more than 100 million

U.S. Bank Stadium is a world-class venue with its unique architecture that cuts beautifully into the Minneapolis skyline. Vikings fans have been watching their team perform in the new stadium for the past two seasons, but Super Bowl LII showcased the stadium for nearly 70,000 fans, athletes and celebrities who attended the game – in addition to more than 100 million total viewers who viewed the televised championship game.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the venue provided “an absolutely perfect stage” for the Super Bowl.

52. Press conference passes the torch to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII

In a press conference with Goodell, Vikings Owners Mark, Zygi and Lenny Wilf, Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Minnesota officially passed the football to Atlanta officials who are now on the clock for Super Bowl LIII.



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