Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Minnesota: When a football team brings a state together January 21, 2018


I photographed this billboard along the northbound lane of Interstate 35 near Lakeville. Kwik Trip is headquartered in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, with many convenience stores in southern Minnesota.


EIGHT DAYS AGO, I couldn’t have identified a single Minnesota Vikings player. But this morning, only hours from the NFC championship game and one week after the Vikes’ stunning win over the New Orleans Saints, I know the names Stefon Diggs and Case Keenum.


The “true Minnesota” reference refers to Old Dutch, started in St. Paul in 1934 and still based in Minnesota, in Roseville. Photographed at Fareway Foods, Faribault.


And I know something else. This state has come together in a way I haven’t seen in a long long time. We needed the Minneapolis Miracle. We needed a reason to celebrate that stretches far beyond simply winning a football game. We needed this win to bring us all together during an incredibly divisive time in our country.


At Fareway Foods in Faribault, the push is on to sell snacks for the play-off game today and then for the Super Bowl.


The level of excitement and enthusiasm and pride in Minnesota right now has created a strong sense of community here. We are Bold North proud. We are hardy Minnesotans united in our desire to see the Vikings, our team, in the Super Bowl that we are hosting in just a few weeks. We. Us. Good, typically stoic folks who are now chanting Skol! Skol! Skol! from small town school gymnasiums to the Mall of America.

You’ll see Vikings pride on interstate billboards and in grocery stores. Everywhere.

On this morning before the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, this feels like our year. To win. Big.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


6 Responses to “In Minnesota: When a football team brings a state together”

  1. Brenda R Says:

    SKOL! This cousin & our cousin in VA will be cheering them on BIG TIME! As a MN State Mankato alumni, Kari even has a Thielen jersey!! We are hosting a Championship Party at our house this afternoon. We even picked up some purple and gold tortilla chips and Kemps Purple milk at HyVee the other day!! Skol! I too love the unity this has brought not just to MN but also the Vikings fans in some surrounding states. Unfortunately we did have to run into a Packers fan last night 😟 Oh well, some people can’t be happy for other teams success. Go Vikings!! 💜🏈

    • If I lived closer, I might crash your party. It sounds like fun. Purple milk? Love it!

      I’m trying to convince my son in Boston to watch the game, or at least show some interest. He loved the Vikings when he was a kid but lost interest at some point. The funny thing is that his girlfriend, a native of Massachusetts, loves football and specifically the Vikings. At least last weekend.

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    We are pulling for the Vikings down here!

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Well— it didn’t happen, did it? Bummer.

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