The finest new trend in the NFL has come to New Orleans: fans donating to the charity of a worthy opponent. In this case, it’s Minnesota Vikings fans, flush with the thrill of victory, donating to the charity of New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead.
Why? Well, you may not recall this, but there were a few plays in Sunday’s playoff game prior to that astonishing Keenum-to-Diggs miracle game-ender. At the conclusion of the Saints’ first drive of the day, Morstead punted to Minnesota’s Marcus Sherels … who proceeded to torch 10 of the 11 New Orleans defenders. Only Morstead remained to bring Sherels down, and he did, injuring himself in the process.
Initial reports indicated that Morstead had broken ribs making the touchdown-saving tackle. That was inaccurate; in truth, he “only” tore cartilage in his ribs, which is every bit as painful as it sounds. Even so, he stayed in the game, launching punts of 56, 38 and 54 yards, often doubling over in pain.
“It was painful, it wasn’t difficult,” Morstead told the New Orleans Advocate. “It was pretty simple in my mind. This is going to be a really good punt or a really bad punt. Either way, it’s going to hurt like hell, so I might as well try and make it as good as I could.”
And when the Saints had to return to the field for that humiliating extra point attempt after the game’s conclusion, Morstead was one of the first ones back out of the locker room, lining up alongside and against far beefier players.
Inspired by that toughness, Vikings fans followed the example of Bills fans donating to Andy Dalton’s foundation and Bengals fans donating to Blake Bortles’ foundation. They began donating to Morstead’s What You Give Will Grow foundation, and soon the foundation set up a dedicated page just for Vikings donations. Morstead offered up a heartfelt message of thanks to Vikings fans:
Morstead said he intends to route the donations to a Minnesota children’s hospital, and said that if the donations reach $100,000, he will fly up to Minnesota the week of the Super Bowl to present the check. As of 12:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, donations had already surpassed $35,000.
Impressive work all the way around by Vikings fans. This is a trend that needs to continue.
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