Millie Wall watched every Vikings game from her favorite chair with a screwdriver cocktail in one hand and a yellow foam brick in the other.
When the Vikings were losing, Wall would hurl the brick at the TV. During one particularly frustrating year, she attached a string to the brick so she wouldn't have to keep getting up to retrieve it. But her loyalty was fierce, and the team named her Fan of the Year in 2020.
Wall was certainly not the Vikings' only superfan but possibly the team's oldest. The St. Anthony resident died Thursday at age 102.
"Our hearts are broken to hear of the passing of Grandma Millie," the team's Twitter account posted Thursday.
A Vikings fan since their 1961 beginning, Wall caught the team's attention when she toured U.S. Bank Stadium at age 98 and was interviewed by a TV station. Two years later, the Vikings gave her an early 100th birthday present: two tickets to a playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. So Wall was there in person for what became known as the Minnesota Miracle thanks to a game-winning final-seconds touchdown.
"Everyone called her the Vikings' lucky charm," said granddaughter Ashley Wall of Atlanta.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gave her tickets to that year's Super Bowl in Minneapolis, but neither she nor the Vikings were able to make it. Wall was ill and the Vikings lost the NFC Championship Game against Philadelphia (the foam brick may have been thrown).
The Vikings didn't forget her, though — on her 101st birthday they sent her 101 white roses.
If her relationship with the Vikings made her famous to the public, she was already admired among family and friends for her kindness, compassion and a vigor she exhibited nearly to the end.
"I still don't know what the magic was, but I want to be just like her," said son Rick Wall of Shoreview.
Wall was active in her church, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in St. Anthony, including providing rides — until she stopped driving a year ago — for other parishioners, some 20 years younger than herself. She loved going out to dinner, always impeccably dressed and made up.
Her husband of 32 years, Lawrence, was a traveling salesman (he died in 1988). So when her sons were young, Wall was often left on her own to look after the five rowdy boys. She was no pushover.
"She was 5 feet tall, 100 pounds," said son Jim Wall of Fort Myers, Fla. But if her sons were up to mischief, "she could scare five strapping boys running in five different directions."
But she also offered them unwavering support.
Bill Wall of Lakeville remembers a standing joke on his youth baseball team: "Who is that superfan?" he said. "It didn't matter who it was — me or one of the other guys — she'd always be there and rooting for us."
Now, Ashley Wall imagines her grandmother continuing to support her beloved Vikings from above. "We've got someone on our side up there," she said.
In addition to her sons and Ashley Wall, survivors include eight other grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Services will be announced soon.
Katy Read • 612-673-4583