If you’re a Vikings tailgating regular, then you’ve likely heard of or maybe even partied with Marcus “Mookie” Anderson and his tailgating posse, the Berserkers, which is a nod to Nordic history and refers to a type of Viking warrior who was so intimidating that he scared off enemies. Not just an homage to one of Minnesota’s most beloved sports teams, the title Berserker also suits the type of tailgating atmosphere that can be expected by those joining their game-day party.
The Berserkers got their start in the late 90s and were known in their heyday as a loyal crew. From 1998-2003, they could be found tailgating regularly in the Washington Avenue lot (which is now the Guthrie Theatre and Loft Apartments). The Berserkers are an informal group of Vikings fans and all are welcome to join in their tailgating festivities (even fans of opposing teams, like infamous Bears fan “Captain Kirk,” pictured with Mookie above). Mookie described the main crew as reminiscent of the cast from “Old School,” a fun-loving group who loves football and bonding about their passion over a few cold ones.
The Berserkers are perhaps most well known for setting up goalposts and hosting day-long nerf football kicking contests. This group is often the first to arrive and the last to leave. Their passion for tailgating is evident in their dedication to and enthusiasm for the Vikings and tailgating culture. This unofficial group also values tradition, as evidenced by their “varsity tailgating” methods of occupying F-150 pickup truck tailgates, grilling up tailgating essentials like brats, chili and red hots, donning retro Tarkenton jerseys, watching classic Vikings games prior to kickoff and always being ready to party with a cooler full of ice-cold beer. Many of the crew attended games at the old Metropolitan Stadium with their parents and their current tailgating approach is an homage to the Bloomington tailgate founders.
Many original Berserkers still frequent tailgates, occasionally dropping in to reminisce with old friends, make new ones and celebrate Vikings tailgating. Want to tailgate with the Berserkers? You can find them in Purple Lot #1; just look for the goal posts!
The Berserkers have an official tailgating website (vikingstailgate.com) which Mookie began in 97-98 during a time when social media was not prevalent. Few Vikings fan club sites existed back then and even fewer could be found dedicated to tailgating at Vikings games. While the site has changed over the years, it still retains its original purpose: to serve as an online club for people who tailgate in Minnesota. Not just an informational site for Vikings tailgaters, vikingstailgate.com has also been a useful resource for the fan of the opposing team looking for guidance on tailgating in Minnesota. Mookie and his Berserker brethren have had the honor of tailgating with numerous out-of-town fans and note that “other than loyalty to their favorite team, there is little difference in NFL fans from all parts of the U.S.”
A special thanks to Marcus “Mookie” Anderson for personally assisting with this article. Check out his website at vikingstailgate.com for tailgating tips, Vikings updates, football humor and more!
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.