Vikings visit local children’s hospital |

Vikings visit local children’s hospital

AP Sports Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Vikings came to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota on Tuesday looking to put some smiles on the faces of a few kids who have had a tough year.

Those kids ended up returning the favor as well.

Kevin and Pat Williams led a group of several Vikings players on a visit to the hospital as part of National Giveback Day, which promotes giving to charities. Kevin Williams made a similar visit last year and has since decided to make this an annual trip.

“It’s nice to come out and see the kids, put a smile on their face when they might be going through something tough,” Kevin Williams said. “It’s good to get out of the house with the things we have going on, but mostly to see the kids and brighten up their day and have a good feeling.”

The Vikings participated in a closed-circuit television show that is broadcast to patients in the hospital and later visited sick children in their rooms to try to brighten their day. The Williams Wall was joined by Kevin’s wife, Tasha, defensive tackle Fred Evans and practice squad receiver Freddie Brown.

During the television show, the All-Pro Kevin Williams revealed to the kids that his favorite pregame meal is a bacon sandwich, his favorite superhero is Batman and he wouldn’t know what to do if he didn’t play in the NFL.

“Just hang in there,” Kevin Williams said he told the kids. “Each kid has their own different thing they’re going through while they’re here. Just hang in there and stay strong and there will be a brighter day.”

Mired in the middle of a miserable season that is grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons, the Vikings could use a pick-me-up themselves. The team is 3-6 and looking nothing like the veteran group that went to the NFC title game last season.

Players have faced questions about coach Brad Childress’ job security, the abrupt dismissal of Randy Moss and allegations that Brett Favre sent inappropriate messages to a game-day hostess while with the Jets in 2008.

It’s all contributed to a long and exhausting season for the Vikings, who host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. A loss could end their hopes of making the playoffs.

Visiting the children, many of whom face far more serious challenges than keeping Aaron Rodgers and the Packers out of the end zone, gives some of the players a little sense of perspective.

“It’s good to block the football out for a minute then come out and make somebody else smile,” Pat Williams said. “We smile, too. So we basically make each other smile today.”