Vikings celebrate Thanksgiving with sick kids at U of M Children's

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Can you brag about having spent Thanksgiving with a bunch of NFL stars?

Probably not – but the kids at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital sure can.

A number of Vikings players, alumni and even "Viktor" the mascot showed up to the hospital on Tuesday to celebrate Thanksgiving with the facility's young patients, according to a news release.

The visit, which is one of many annual appearances the Vikes make at the hospital throughout the year, was aimed at bringing "warm thoughts and comfort" to sick children, the team says.

Meeting the patients and celebrating the holiday with them was an eye-opening experience for center John Sullivan, who's been sidelined for the entire season due to a couple of back surgeries. He says his setbacks seem "much less significant when visiting" kids battling severe illnesses.

“Even though it’s unfortunate and I wish I could be out there helping my teammates, when you come here and see kids going through so much, not just the patients but their families, the people tasked with taking care of them, it really puts the whole thing in perspective,” Sullivan said.

While there, Sullivan and his teammates saw some familiar faces, including parents and patients who have been in the hospital during other Vikings visits, and, the release says, one child who "still had a hat autographed by Sullivan" from a visit five years ago.

But autographs are the least of the team's concerns, with Sullivan saying "we just want to come and brighten their day, maybe distract them a little bit and give them a little sense of normalcy with a Thanksgiving meal and just do whatever we can.”

Players Kyle Rudolph, Brandon Fusco, Nick Easton, Zac Kerin, Austin Shepherd, David Yankey and a couple of former Vikings were in attendance, according to the release.

One high point in the already special day: Sullivan sang a duet of "Let it Go" from Disney's "Frozen" to a little girl in her hospital room, the release says.

For more photos from the visit, click here. 

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