MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The centerpiece of the NFL Sunday were the shoes.
The NFL’s My Cause My Cleats program gives players the chance to use their shoes to showcase what’s important to them.
“I love the fact that, you know, we’re able to do something like this and just have fun with it,” said Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison. “At the same time, you know, there’s a good cause behind a lot of people’s cleats. And so to hear the story behind everything is also one of the most special parts about it.”
The day especially touched C.J. Ham, whose mother is battling stage-four pancreatic cancer.
“It means a lot. You know, those cleats really meant a lot to me today,” Ham said. “There’s so much strength in those shoes, and just to have [Mom] on my feet in that game, it meant a lot to me.”
It’s a unique opportunity to play for something much bigger.
“That’s what’s really cool about this. You know, guys can pick whatever they want. There’s no set list of organizations you can pick. Just something you feel close to, or passionate about,” said wide receiver Bisi Johnson. “I did the Boys and Girls Club because I’ve done a few things with them through the Vikings. And it’s just fun to go out there and hang out with the kids, you know. They’re easy, they’re fun. They love for you to be there, so just to put a smile on their face is really great.”
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph teamed up with the 3M Open to create a pair of cleats for the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. The shoes were in honor of Cooper Baltzell, 5, who is a patient Rudolph has spent a lot of time with. Baltzell received the cleats at the end of the Vikings’ victory over the Detroit Lions, as well as a game ball.