Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Vikings, NFL honor military with 'Salute to Service'

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Vikings, Vikings fans, Vikings off the field Updated: November 7, 2013 - 4:37 PM

The Vikings and Redskins will take part in one of the NFL's 32 “Salute to Service” military appreciation games this season at Mall of America Field dedicated to all branches of the United States Armed Forces and current and former military personnel serving the country.

Players will have a decal representing one branch of the military on their helmets. They’ll also wear camouflage gloves and towels while the coaches wear special ribbons. All game used items will be auctioned with the proceeds donated to the league’s core military non-profit partners (USO, the Pat Tillman Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project) and also donate $100 for every point scored in all 32 “Salute to Service” games.

The Vikings will be proclaimed as a Yellow Ribbon company before the game, which unites key areas within the organization for the purpose of proactively supporting servicemembers, veterans and military families in the workplace, according to a release. They're the first professional team and the 32nd Minnesota organization to be named as a Yellow Ribbon company.

The pregame festivities also will include a cool card stunt during the national anthem to send a military appreciate message. USAA has engineered the message and assigned 50,000 cards in the seats so fans hold them up to display a patriotic message with stars and stripes.

The Vikings and USAA ask that fans be in their seats 15 minutes before kickoff to ensure full-stadium participation during the national anthem. Vikings fans can see images of the card stunt or show support for their local military with a salute at

If pulled off properly, the message should look like this:



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