MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Vikings wrap up the season with a less-than-stellar outcome. Their 5-10-1 record cost coach Leslie Frazier his job.
It’s the type of showing that makes many Minnesotans lose faith in the purple and gold.
But there’s one group of fans out there who pledge lifelong loyalty to the team.
They call themselves the “Viking World Order.”
Near the Metrodome, the faithful honor Nordic tradition while answering the call of team loyalty. Tailgaters are out in the early morning hours, paying no attention to sub-zero temperatures.
Like so many fans, David Kidder knows the excitement of home-field advantage.
“I’m a pretty big Vikings fan,” Kidder said.
But his team allegiance will enter a new era as he joins an elite fan base.
The opportunity to join the Viking World Order is not offered to the fair-weather fan. David must pledge unwavering support for the Vikings, no matter the season record.
“I guess I figured that I’ve already been a life-long Vikings fan, so it’s just an extension of what I’ve already gone through,” he said.
Syd Davy was the very first to take VWO oath.
“I first started this on the stadium drive. That’s the reason I put the Viking World Order together, to save this team from moving,” Davy said.
As membership grew, the Viking World Order found order. Each member has a nicknames and a rank.
David Gunderson, or Sir Gunnar of the VWO, is a four-star general.
Who you know is a key part of the initiation process. It can take weeks before potential inductees are actually initiated.
“A general has to nominate you,” Gunderson said. “Fifteen of 28 generals have to basically say ‘Yea.'”
Now 200 strong, these fans think of themselves more as family.
Sunday gatherings often stretch outside the shadow of the dome through charity work and fundraisers
“It’s just turned into an awesome organization,” Davy said.
Yet, all still wear team loyalty on their sleeve. Many are some of the most recognizable Vikings fans. Their get-ups often draw attention from NFL cameras on game day.
But the true measure of the VWO is the purple that can’t be removed. Diggz Garza says a tattoo is a first chance to prove your worth as a VWO member.
“No one has not done it yet,” Garza said, while receiving his fourth tattoo.
Each member wears their emblem proudly. Their commitment comes to life on game day.
They are the constant cheerleaders and a growing force. Typically, there’s at least one knighting at every home game.
“We have goals and we achieve them all by making Vikings fans, actually, better Vikings fans,” Davy said.
They are true fans, even in the twilight of a lost season.
“It means a lot. It means honor, respect, integrity. Show a positive face even in a downside season,” Gunderson said. “It means an awful lot.”
Membership is open to any Viking fan, no matter their age or gender. They also have honorary members who don’t get the tattoo.