alanpageAlan Page is one of the greatest and most interesting Vikings players of all-time. Not only is he enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but also Page served for more than 20 years on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Perhaps less-publicized but of equal importance is the work he has has done with the Page Education Foundation. Started nearly three decades ago, the foundation’s mission has been to improve access to higher education for students of color. The foundation’s gala is Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium, and in advance of it I chatted with Page about the event and a few other topics. More of the interview will be included in Sunday’s print edition, but here is a taste:

Q: What was the impetus for the Page Education Foundation and the big gala event Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium?

A: We started it back in 1988 with the goal of encouraging, motivating and assisting young men and women of color to pursue education beyond high school. We do that in two ways. One is providing financial assistance and two, more importantly, we require our grant recipients — we call them Page Scholars — to spend 50 hours per academic year working with young children in kindergarten through eighth grade. They act as tutors, mentors and role models.

Q: What are your impressions of the new stadium?

A: I think it’s dramatically and strikingly impressive. It’s airy, it’s open, it’s about as close to being outdoors as you can be indoors. I think it’s spectacular.

Q: Would you have wanted to play in a facility like that — the outdoor feel but indoors?

A: Well, if you had to play indoors you’d want it like that. But I grew up with football as an outdoor sport, and it will always be that.

Q: The Vikings have been coy this week about who will be their quarterback Sunday. When you were a preparing as a defensive player, was it difficult when you didn’t know who the quarterback was going to be?

A: I always operated under the theory that they were going to have a quarterback. And it really didn’t much matter who it was. If they were on the team, they were going to be a problem.

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