Vikings “renaissance man” excited for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta

“Minneapolis Miracle” to Philadelphia beat down, Minnesota Vikings were one game away from playing in Super Bowl their city was hosting.

Vikings 2017 were the first team to ever win a postseason game with a walkoff touchdown. Thanks to Stefon Diggs who came up with a 61-yard touchdown reception in NFC Divisional Round against New Orleans Saints, January 14. Appearing in the NFC Championship they became the only team hosting a Super Bowl to go that deep in the playoffs. With hopes of becoming the first to play the big game in their own stadium Philadelphia Eagles denied that opportunity. After Vikings scored on their opening drive it was all down hill from there losing 38-7.

With Super Bowl festivities happening in the city they represented it didn’t entirely spoil Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly from participating in Super Bowl events. Second year player, who Star Tribune refers to as a half renaissance man, made his red carpet debut during 2018 “Leather & Laces” event Friday, February 2, two days before Super Bowl LII. On the carpet he spoke as to what Vikings coach Mike Zimmerman told the team after losing in Philadelphia.

“He just told us he loved us. He said ‘what we saw on the scoreboard doesn’t represent this team. We’re a bunch of fighters, we’re good players, we’re going to talk about this tomorrow and don’t let it keep you down,” Weatherly said.

Lombardi Trophy showcased in Mall of America February 2, 2018, two days ahead of Super Bowl LII (photo: Gino Terrell Photography).

While they won’t get an opportunity to play the Super Bowl in their stadium next season Weatherly is confident they’ll be able to contend next season. It will start by building off their 2017 season where they finished 13-3 with a playoff win.

“We found our brand of football,” Weatherly said. “We’ll be building on top of success and that next step will be the Super Bowl.

“But learning how to reset and refocus on the next task at hand” is key to moving forward, he said.

With Atlanta hosting Super Bowl LIII next season a visit there would be special to Weatherly who grew up in that city.

“That would be unbelievable,” he said of playing Super Bowl LIII in his hometown Atlanta. “We go down to Atlanta [and] the Minnesota Vikings are playing, that means I obviously did something right to help the team…and to put us in a position to do that would mean something extra.”

Gino Terrell is a 37-time journalism award recipient accumulating honors from Associated Collegiate Press, Society of Professional Journalists and National Association of Black Journalists (most notable: NABJ Student Journalist of the Year). Since 2014 he’s landed bylines in professional news organizations in the United States 15th largest media market Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota landing bylines in St. Paul Pioneer Press, Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. KSTP TV (kstp.com), MinnPost, Twin Cities Daily Planet, AdpotAClassroom.org (national campaign based in Minneapolis) and Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. As a college student he founded national award winning student-magazine Pipers In-Depth at Hamline University (St. Paul, MN). Follow him on Twitter: @Gin026 & Instagram: 26_gino

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