By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know it as the Vikings war chant, the rally cry, the word that brings the fans together – skol!

Kari From Mahtomedi asked: What does it actually mean? Good Question.

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“Skol has been in our lexicon since the very beginning of the franchise in 1961,” says Erin Swartz, Director of Brand and Creative for the Minnesota Vikings. “It was really like a Cheers! Vikings! We’ve scored, we’re celebrating, we’re winning.”

The word itself dates back more than a thousand years. It is spelled “skål” in Swedish and pronounced with a rounder “O” than the version known in the U.S. today.

Skål means bowl, referring to a communal bowl (often filled with beer) that was passed around. Each person would take a drink and then say skål. It was similar to the English version of “Cheers!”

“It was a greeting of warmth and camaraderie,” says Gregg White, Executive Director of the Swedish Council of America.

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White says there is no evidence that skål was used as an ancient war cry by the Vikings. He also points out the ancient Vikings used a different word to toast people. “Minni” was used to honor someone’s memory.

As, and for the story that skol came from Vikings drinking beer from the skulls of their enemies? White calls it “a wonderful myth,” but not fact.

In 2016, the Minnesota Vikings introduced the skol chant in conjunction with the opening of US Bank Stadium. A similar version of the Vikings war chant had been used by the 2016 Icelandic soccer team.

“We reached out to them directly and said would you be willing to lend us this idea from one Viking fan to another and they were receptive,” says Swartz.

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If the Vikings make it to the Super Bowl, they won’t technically have home-field advantage at U.S. Bank Stadium. NFL won’t allow the team to initiate the chant, but that can’t stop fans from chanting Skol themselves.

Heather Brown