Vikings use off day to lift spirits at Amplatz Children's Hospital

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  • October 26, 2011 - 8:48 AM

Do you want the good news or the bad news? Of the latter, there's plenty.

For one, it's Oct. 26 and the Vikings have only one victory. For another, the team conceded Tuesday that Bernard Berrian was a sunk cost and abruptly waived the veteran receiver, further diluting the depth at a position of major need.

And then there's the whole Chris Cook domestic assault saga, with details so ugly and disturbing that the franchise's reputation won't be able to avoid taking a big hit.

But look, we're not here to spend all our time piling on. And on Tuesday afternoon there was a healthy dose of perspective at the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital where a horde of Vikings players used their off day to lift the spirits of sick kids and their families. Left tackle Steve Hutchinson hosted his annual Halloween party at the hospital.

Linebacker Erin Henderson, meanwhile, visited young patients, including those with sickle cell disease (SCD). Henderson recently launched “Foundation 50” to raise awareness and funds to support research programs and to ultimately find a cure for SCD.

Other Vikings in attendance Tuesday included Chad Greenway, Charlie Johnson, Everson Griffen, DeMarcus Love, Tyrone McKenzie and John Sullivan.

"You see these kids and you just really hope you can bring them some normalcy, even if it's just for a short period of time," Hutchinson said. "A lot of these kids are stuck in their hospital room for months, sometimes years on end and they don't get the opportunity to get out much. And it's not only the kids. A lot of these families are from out of town and are pulled away from their lives and families. You hope you can lift their spirits."

Hutchinson said his responsibilities as a father have given him a greater appreciation for events like Tuesday's.

"It's a very small sacrifice for myself and my teammates to come down here for a few hours and do what we can do to help. Something like this always provides that dose of perspective. We live in our own isolated world sometimes. We're always down at the [Vikings] facility and talking football, football, football. Especially when things aren't going that great like this season, you can get frustrated. Then you come here and you get a reminder of what life's all about."

Henderson also expressed his gratification in having an ability to lend a hand.

"Naturally, being a father myself, you do look at things a little differently," he said. "You can only hope and pray your kids stay in good health. But for those not as fortunate, you hope you can be giving of your time and your support to help in some small way."


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