By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Vikings fan support for a New Orleans punter is coming full circle.

Saints punter Thomas Morstead was the first player to come back to the field for the point after touchdown. Morstead — who was in extreme pain from a rib cage injury earlier in the game — impressed one Vikings fan so much, the fan posted a link to Morstead’s foundation.

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And that link has gone viral.

“Neither one of us thought that it would explode to the level and degree that it has,” said Joy Johnson-Lind of Children’s Minnesota.

Johnson-Lind is bursting with gratitude that a punter for the New Orleans Saints would become a godsend for children and families who use Children’s Hospital in Minnesota.

“It’s over $71,000 and it just keeps going crazy,” Morstead said.

Morstead says he never expected a loss to the Minnesota Vikings would result in a win for children.

“Whenever you get a group of people who believe in something and want to be a part of something special the people can be very powerful and it shows,” said Morstead.

Morstead’s playing through the pain of a of torn cartilage on his rib cage, and being the first player to come back on the field for the point after touchdown, spark a Vikings fan to post about his foundation and ask Minnesotans to give.

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“We looked online and, to our surprise, we saw a whole bunch of Minnesota addresses making donations to a complete stranger that they never met. I just felt that we should give the money to the hospital up there,” he said.

Morstead says he is impressed with Minnesota fans.

“This hasn’t gone to $71,000 because of 20 people making thousands of dollars in donations, it’s thousands of people making $10 donations,” he said.

Those are donations Johnson-Lind believes this kindness shown from both sides signals so much more.

“In light of these highly competitive teams on a big scale and a big state its shows kind of a greater perspective of what it really important and what really matters,” said Johnson-Lind.

All the money donated to Minnesota will help children in the Child Life Program at Children’s Minnesota.

It helps children understand their diagnosis and treatments.

Morstead says if the fund reaches 100 thousand he will fly back to Minnesota for the Super Bowl to present a check to the hospital.

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As of 6:30 p.m., donations from Vikings fans to Morestead’s charity were hovering around $100,000. Click here to donate.

Reg Chapman