The offseason excitement of looking forward to another draft party which is my 15th was finally here. I have attended draft parties at Mall of America, Winter Park, Mall of America Field and now the last 2 years going to the Minneapolis Convention Center. The ballroom where the event is something to behold but before that the layout outside the walls found such things on one side as the Vikings Locker room and Teddy Bridgewater’s Rookie of the Year trophy was on display in which you could get your picture with it.
Oct 2, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Minnesota Vikings helmet sits on the sidelines during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The other side had KFAN on the air with Dan Barreiro hosting along with former Minnesota Vikings linebacker, Ben Leber. The ballroom itself was darker inside with purple lighting being the main color of lighting. It was truly festive with hundreds of Vikings fans congregated either sitting in the chair that’s were set up or fans could stand and watch the draft.
As we entered the ball room and gave our tickets we were given a draft hand out and in that was a bingo card in which players names were on it. The game was played when a player’s name was called we would mark the name and as soon as you got bingo you would bring it back for the chance to get a prize.
A large stage was up front and that is where KFAN’s Paul Allen hosted the show which started at 6:30. Allen was joined by League Safe.com very own Paul Charchian and Ben Leber, who once again was part of this show and did the analyzing of the players that did get drafted. Vikings players Xavier Rhodes, John Sullivan, Charles Johnson and new Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman, Babatunde Aiyegbusi were brought on stage and introduced one by one drawing an enormous roar by the crowd.
If you have not seen Babatunde you will be amazed just how big this guy really is. There were 3 enormous TV screens on the wall behind the stage in which we could watch Paul Allen and crew closer up on the middle screen or the left screen. The right screen featured the live NFL draft so we could watch the draft as well. There was a lot to watch all night with watching the radio show and the draft all at once. I felt like I was in Chicago because every time Commissioner, Roger Goodell would come on stage on TV Vikings fans together booed loudly. The combination of KFAN and live draft coverage was a football fan dream with a great deal of info flowing as you could listen and read the bottom of the screen as it scrolled info on everything draft related.
I said earlier that this was my 15th and I will say it had to be one of the top 3 loudest draft parties I have ever attended. KFAN played on the big screen a video of Teddy Bridgewater’s season and when that started the chants of Teddy, Teddy, Teddy rang throughout the Ballroom. It got so loud in there and looking around at fans they were all getting into it. I honestly sat at the party just wondering about AP and would we trade him tonight. I like many of you have heard endless rumors and it would be nice to be done either way. There needs to be an end to this. The draft itself seemed to go quickly and was getting closer to number 11.
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Trae Waynes (Michigan State) is selected as the number eleven overall pick to the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The speculation put out by KFAN was the Minnesota Vikings may look to trade back to pick up more picks in this draft. The TV screen then showed the Vikings were on the clock and showed time ticking down to where the Vikes needed to make a decision. My mind was saying Vikings will trade but then the words “Pick is in” showed up on the screen. The entire Ballroom stood as one and waited for Goodell to announce the pick. Goodell says. “The Vikings select with the 11th pick, Trae Waynes.”
The ballroom went nuts and was so loud you could not hear yourself think. It was such an amazing feeling to be a part of Viking fans that supported this choice. Yes, I have been to my share of parties where booing occurred such as 2011 when Christian Ponder’s name was called out by Goodell. It was an incredible night to share with hundreds of Vikings fans. It is an event I strongly recommend to those of you who think about going and that is as far as it goes. Please make the trip one year and you will see just how much fun it is.
Thanks for reading!
More from The Viking Age
- 6 biggest draft steals in Minnesota Vikings history
- Former Vikings first-round pick could reportedly return to NFC North
- Bears analyst has extremely embarrassing Kirk Cousins take
- 6 Vikings who (maybe) won’t make the 53-man roster in 2023
- Predicting what the Vikings will do in the 2023 NFL Draft based on 2022