One hundred-year-old John Ed-ward Larson likes the Vikings on Saturday night.
The former road paver from East Bethel has never been married, never moved from the quaint farmhouse in which he was born and, until six days ago, had never been to a Vikings game.
And he's never been afraid to admit he believes in miracles.
"I experienced one miracle this week," he said. "Why not two?"
Larson, who turned 100 on Dec. 12, received a birthday card on White House stationery signed by President and Michelle Obama and another card signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. But the most thrilling birthday greeting came from the Vikings, who, after reading a news story about Larson, invited him to be their guest at the regular-season finale Sunday against Green Bay at the Metrodome.
"Here's a fan who religiously watches our games and had never been," said Jeff Anderson, the Vikings' director of corporate communications. "We all felt, this guy needs to be in the Dome for a game. It was an easy decision."
Although Larson passed his driver's test last year, the Vikings promised to provide transportation to the big game. Larson was absolutely stunned when Vikings representatives arrived at his rural home in East Bethel at 1:15 p.m. to pick him and his family up -- "in the biggest stretch limousine I've ever seen," said Larson's sister, Irene Anderson, 95.
"When they pulled up, I could only think, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" she said.
Imagine the buzz outside the Metrodome as the long, black limousine pulled up at 2 p.m.
Adrian Peterson? Jared Allen?
"I hope nobody was disappointed when we walked out of that big limousine," said Verlo Larson, 86, Ed's kid brother.
Ed, Verlo and nephews Jim Larson and Cory Huberty were escorted to special seats on the stadium turf, where they were greeted by Vikings President Mark Wilf, who talked to Ed Larson for several minutes.
"Adrian Peterson was right near us, then Aaron Rogers, [the Packers quarterback] came by," said Larson. "He's very good. Adrian Peterson is great."
Larson ignored the nearby Packers fans in their green jerseys. When his view was blocked by the much taller players on the sideline, he watched the action on the scoreboard. He tried to tune out the crowd's roar when it became deafening.
And when the game was decided on Blair Walsh's last-second field goal, Larson knew he had witnessed one of the most memorable games in Vikings history.
"I should know," he said. "I've been around for all of them."
And the playoff game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay?
"I don't know why not," he said. "The Vikings have a chance. I like their chances. Why not? They're hot.
"What were the odds of me seeing my first game at the age of 100?" he asked. "Who would have believed that I would ride to the Metrodome in a limousine?"
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419