If the Vikings on-field performance Sunday matches the talent that will be on-hand to execute several pre-game activities, fans will be in for a great afternoon at Mall of America Field.
Sounding the Gjallarhorn prior to kickoff will be Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Twins star Paul Molitor. The 7-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger Award winner and 1993 World Series MVP is a St. Paul, Minnesota native and played for the Twins from 1996-98. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and played there from 1978-92, then played for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1993-95 before joining the Twins in ’96.
Serving as the Vikings Honorary Captain on Sunday will be another Twins legend – Dave Winfield. Also a St. Paul native, Winfield was an exceptional athlete and starred at the University of Minnesota in both baseball and basketball. Winfield played for 6 different teams, including the Twins from 1993-94. In his pro baseball career, Winfield was a 12-time All-Star, 7-time Gold Glove winner, 6-time Silver Slugger Award winner and World Series champion in 1992.
Amazingly enough, Winfield was drafted by 4 teams in 3 separate professional sports. The San Diego Padres selected him as a pitcher, the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA and the Utah Stars of the ABA choose him in their drafts, and then the Vikings drafted him in the 17th round of the 1973 NFL Draft.
Singing the National Anthem on Sunday will be Ruben Studdard, the winner of Season 2 of the hit FOX show America Idol. Studdard received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar.” In the years following Idol, Studdard has released four studio albums, including his most recent disc, 2009’s “Love Is.”
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