Thomas Morstead is among the best punters in the NFL and even though he plays for the hated New Orleans Saints, he's one of the good guys.
Minnesotans' appreciation for Morstead began last season, just moments after Case Keenum and Stefon Diggs created the Minneapolis Miracle in a playoff victory over the Saints.
While most of his teammates walked back to the locker room, Morstead was the first player back on the field, lining up as a defensive player so the Vikings could snap the ball for the mandatory extra point.
Vikings fans noticed the act of sportsmanship, which Morstead displayed despite suffering a painful cartilage tear in his ribs earlier in the game. Generous Vikings fans showed their appreciation for Morstead's sportsmanship by donating to his charity, "What You Give Will Grow. "
The punter realized the surge in donations was coming from Minnesota, and the total ultimately grew to more than $200,000, which Morstead paid forward, hand-delivering a check for $221,143 to Children’s Minnesota’s Child Life program, doing so during Super Bowl week.
Now back in town as the Saints take on the Vikings on Sunday, Morstead is teaming up with Vikings return specialist/cornerback Marcus Sherels, who just so happens to be the guy Morstead collided with when he injured his ribs in last year's playoff game, to make the holiday season brighter for families that have fallen on hard times.
They're raising funds for Best Christmas Ever, a nonprofit that surprises families on Christmas, and whomever's team wins the game on Sunday night will be the bigger beneficiary.
The winning team's market will receive 60 percent of all money raised while the remaining 40 percent will go to Best Christmas Ever in the losing team's market.
"After learning about Best Christmas Ever, a Minnesota-based non-profit, we really wanted to bring the initiative to New Orleans and give six families a holiday season to remember," says Morstead.
"We’re excited to work with Marcus and the Vikings to support the program in Minnesota and in Louisiana during Vikings/Saints game week."
As of Friday afternoon, the effort had raised close to $16,000 for Best Christmas Ever.