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, Minn. (AP) — Dalvin Cook’s rookie year was dominated by his rehabilitation from reconstructive knee surgery, and his second season included recuperation from a significant hamstring strain. quickly made the Minnesota Vikings running back realize the necessity of eating right.When he entered the NFL, Cook could hardly have envisioned spinach as the centerpiece of one of his meals. Now, he’s made youth nutrition his chief charitable cause, trying to help kids embrace the value of healthy foods.“I just started seeing some of the stuff I was eating, and I was like, ‘I never would’ve had this two years ago,'” Cook said. “So just imagine if I was 10 years old? Just to give them a jump-start on how to do things, to get a message out there and show them how it’s supposed to be done.”Education is one thing, but access is another.When school is out, especially in the summer, many children in low-income households can find meals harder to come by. The Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities works with about 9,000 kids, with 90% of them eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, according to senior director of corporate and public relations Tim Schober.Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren saw his own awareness rise when his daughter, Peri, founded a food delivery business to bring healthy food to underserved residents of the north side of Minneapolis.“I didn’t quite understand the level of it until I helped her deliver food a couple times on weekends,” Warren said. “There are people right here in our touchpoint that are really struggling Jonah Williams Jersey
, that don’t eat healthy, and it impacts every area of their life.”When the Vikings relaunched their philanthropic arm in 2017, they prioritized childhood hunger, fitness and achievement gaps, with a goal of actively creating their own programs in partnership with local nonprofits rather than the old model of simply issuing grants. The first major initiative was a food truck to serve nutritious meals to needy kids in the area, in conjunction with organizations already addressing food access.This custom-built, converted recreational vehicle energized by rooftop solar panels was unveiled on Thursday. It’s called Vikings Table .“You think about developing countries having hunger issues, but it exists in our own backyard,” said Vikings Foundation executive director Brett Taber. “Food trucks are very popular, so this eliminates some of that social stigma of receiving a free meal.”The association with the local professional football team helps, too.“With the Vikings being involved, it gives it a different feel,” Schober said. “Now, it’s a big special event and everyone is participating and you can take some of the potential embarrassment away.”The concept is similar to an “eye mobile” the Eagles Charitable Foundation has deployed in the Philadelphia area since 1996 to offer free eye exams and prescription glasses to needy children .Boosted by a seven-figure pledge from Xcel Energy, the project also will be funded by sales from the food truck with a separate menu at Vikings games, training camp practices and other events. Profits will be directed back to the summer youth meal service. The back of the truck has an 80-inch monitor to show videos about healthy eating. Local food truck entrepreneurs Tony and Haley Fritz will be operating, maintaining and staffing the truck.“The hope is to have some kind of an effect on people. It’s kind of an event so they want to be a part of that,” Haley Fritz said. “We’re trying to say: ‘Hey http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-drew-sample-jersey
, this is cool. The Vikings eat turkey tacos, too.’ The hope is that they just keep us overly busy and we just keep feeding as many people as we can.” The accepted mantra throughout the NFL that stretches to its fandom is that each game in the schedule is equally important.Then we get to late November and all of December and forget that bromide.It’s happening again, and there’s nothing wrong with it.Think about how huge Kansas City’s stunning win at New England to kick off the season seemed to be. Doesn’t look so momentous right now with the Chiefs nose-diving in the AFC West while the Patriots do their usual tsunami over the AFC East.The league and many of the pundits who follow it couldn’t find enough hyperbole for the first Sunday nighter, the Giants at Dallas.Well, the Giants are in range for a top-three draft choice — and just benched Eli Manning, if you can imagine — and the Cowboys are plummeting out of contention.So while there are games throughout September and October, it’s not until Thanksgiving hits that we can truly define what the BIG games are.And beginning last week, they’ve arrived.The Vikings are involved in a bunch of them, even though coach Mike Zimmer keeps espousing the company line.“Go out and win as many games as you can and try to get in (the playoffs) and play as many games as you can at home,” Zimmer says. “But we have to win and we have to take one game at a time. Talking about it doesn’t do anything.”Actually, talking about it is all kinds of fun. So here are the games that should really matter and are worth getting excited about through Christmas.WEEK 13Carolina at New Orleans; Minnesota at Atlanta; Philadelphia at Seattle; Detroit at Baltimore.Mostly NFC matchups; the conference has been the far more interesting, with a slew of top teams as opposed to the top-heavy AFC (New England, Pittsburgh).The NFC South, clearly the best division in football, gets the spotlight in the Big Easy and the ATL. The Panthers-Saints game is for the lead in that sector and matches a pair of squads showing the kind of balance that works deep into January. For once, this isn’t just about Cam Newton and Drew Brees, but about the running games and the defenses.“We know what is at stake,” Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn says. “We took it personal last time because they beat us in our house. We have a chance to play them in their house and take the lead in our division. I’m back this week and I’m excited.”Atlanta is showing signs of finding its 2016 form Germaine Pratt Jersey
, and will be severely tested by Minnesota’s marvelous defense. Watch for how Falcons star receiver Julio Jones and Vikings under-the-radar pass catcher Adam Thielen perform. Both are on fire.While the Seahawks are banged-up, penalty-riddled and not-so fearsome at home anymore, the Eagles can take another major step atop the conference.Both the Lions and Ravens have wild-card aspirations and can’t afford a stumble.WEEK 14New Orleans at Atlanta; Minnesota at Carolina; Seattle at Jacksonville; Oakland at Kansas City; Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams; Baltimore at Pittsburgh.WOW!The nastiest rivalry in the NFL, Ravens-Steelers, in the Sunday night game, possibly Baltimore’s last chance to make any headway in the AFC North. Another road go-round for the Vikings in the NFC South, where that division’s most-heated rivalry has the Saints at the Falcons. We’ll know a whole lot more about that sector after these games — and perhaps a whole lot more about how strong the Vikings are.While both the Raiders and Chiefs have hit mediocrity, their matchups always are noteworthy for intensity. AFC South leadership will still be in question.The Seahawks and Jaguars both will need this game, whether for division title hopes or wild-card chances. And the Eagles are staying out west after the Seattle contest for a matchup of the top two selections in the 2016 draft: No. 1 Jared Goff vs. No. 2 Carson Wentz.Week 15New England at Pittsburgh; Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City; Los Angeles Rams at Seattle.Very possible division deciders in KC and Seattle. Plus, by far, the AFC’s most intriguing confrontation, most likely with home-field advantage for the conference championship game on the line.Week 16Minnesota at Green Bay; Atlanta at New Orleans; Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee.OK, the Vikings probably will be playoff-bound and the Packers won’t, but hopefully we’ll get a glimpse of Aaron Rodgers again, back from his broken collarbone.Falcons-Saints for the second time in three weeks, with lots on the line. And maybe a playoff-relevant home contest for the Titans against a Rams team headed to the postseason.And these don’t even consider the final weekend of all divisional matchups.