Vikings fans ready to “Skol, Vikings”
Another football season underway, Minnesota Vikings supporters hope for the playoffs season
Norwegian American Weekly
For many Americans, the arrival of fall means more than cozy sweaters and warm drinks; it’s all about the start of a new and promising football season.
We’re sure that our readers support a variety of NFL teams, but considering how many live or have roots in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we suspect that the majority of the loyalty lies with the Minnesota Vikings. So now that football season is thoroughly underway, we’ve decided to take a look at the team representing the Norse.
It’s been 54 years since the Vikings first took to the field in 1961. As a team in the heart of Scandinavian America, the mascot was an obvious choice. Plus, legend has it that the name and purple and yellow uniforms were inspired by the Superior, Wis., high school team of one of the original owners, Ole Haugsrud. Regardless of the origins, the Minneapolis team clicked with the locals and quickly developed a loyal fan base. The Vikings started off strong with an incredible debut game and impressive ticket sales and has maintained a consistent spot at the top of their division for the majority of their franchise history.
With a Viking as its mascot and a home in Minnesota, it’s no surprise that this team and its fans like to embrace Scandinavian culture (whether or not it’s historically accurate). The tough Viking with the horned helmet and blond braids can be spotted around the stadium from the mascot to the logo to the “Helga Hats” on the fans.
In fact, the Vikings boast two mascots: Viktor the Viking, who claims to hail from the fjords of Iceland and lists bear trapping and cheese grating among his hobbies, and Ragnar, who wears a more authentic Viking costume, is based on the Viking Ragnar Lodbrok, and has ridden his motorcycle at every home game since 1994.
The Vikings themselves, clad in purple helmets with a horn on each side, are welcomed to their home field by the gjallarhorn, a large horn represented in Norse mythology to announce the arrival of the gods.
And last but not least: the fight song. Titled “Skol, Vikings,” this fight song was created by composer James “Red” McLeod in the early 1960s and features the Scandinavian word “skål” meaning cheers:
Skol Vikings, let’s win this game,
Skol Vikings, honor your name,
Go get that first down,
Then get a touchdown.
Rock ’em … Sock ’em
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Go Vikings, run up the score.
You’ll hear us yell for more…
Skol Vikings, let’s go!
After multiple decades of playing in both the Metropolitan Stadium and the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the Vikes are getting a new home. The new U.S. Bank Stadium is scheduled to open next July. In the meantime, the team will play a second season at University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium—their final season outdoors.
Despite their remarkable success throughout the years, the Vikings have struggled to perform at the top of their game in recent seasons. Last year marked Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s first season with the Vikings; the team did show improvement from the previous season but still ended with a mediocre 7-9 record. Looking ahead to the 2015 season, most fans are quite optimistic that this could be a comeback year.
Sports analysts remain cautiously uncertain—predicting slight improvements—but do highlight some potential game changers: The team was incredibly young last year and can only be expected to improve with experience. This is especially critical for last year’s rookie and first round pick, 22-year-old quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Considering that Bridgewater performed as well as he did as a rookie, and given his promising preseason performance, he is expected to thrive with the return of running back MVP Adrian Peterson and arrival of wide receiver Mike Wallace. Peterson will be coming back to the field from the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list after his 2014 child abuse charges, while Wallace was traded from the Miami Dolphins during the offseason. Only time will tell if these changes will have what it takes to get the Vikings to the playoffs.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 18, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.