'Tis the season: Vikings' Sullivan leads local pack of charitable pros


What pro athletes do off the field, the ice or the court goes largely unnoticed – except for the occasional appearance in police blotter – but there are instances that call for attention.

Vikings center John Sullivan has very quietly done good works with the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, so much so that he was named the team's community man of the year Tuesday.

According to Vikings.com, Sullivan personally donated $150,000 toward the medically friendly Amplatz playground this year. For the past three years Sullivan has sponsored Halloween, Thanksgiving and Holiday parties at Amplatz for the patients and families and is the celebrity chair for the Amplatz Golf Classic.

Sullivan has purchased gifts for every young patient staying in the hospital this holiday season.

As ESPN reports, Sullivan hosted the holiday party at Tuesday at Ampltaz, and he brought with him quarterback Matt Cassel, punter Jeff Locke, wide receiver Jerome Simpson, and offensive linemen Charlie Johnson, Kevin Murphy and Matt Kalil.

Sullivan took over as the Vikings' representative to the hospital at the urging of former offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson, and has immersed himself in the role, according to ESPN.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the Timberwolves' Kevin Love brought a Range Rover full of coats to the Salvation Army in Northeast Minneapolis on Tuesday as part of his sixth annual winter coat drive.

The Timberwolves say more than 4,500 coats have been donated this season, the largest number since he started the drive six years ago. Love personally unloaded the coats with children at the Salvation Army, then signed autographs and gave out tickets to an upcoming Wolves game.

And the Star Tribune chronicles a day in the life of Toby Gerhart on Tuesday, when the Vikings' running back was visiting Bremer Farms in Hastings after the dairy farming family submitted the winning photo in the National Dairy Council’s “Show Your Pride” contest.

"The family of huge Vikings fans got to hang out with Gerhart — and he, in turn, got to meet their 100-plus cows and calves up close," writes the paper's Michael Rand.

"You need a lot of guys out here to support you and support this cause," Sullivan tells ESPN. "It doesn't take much. It's a positive experience for everybody involved, so it's not a hard sell."

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