Vikings Reveal What They're Playing for in NFL's 'My Cause, My Cleats' Campaign

B/R Kicks Staff@@brkicksContributor IDecember 6, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 18: Stefon Diggs #14 and Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings speak during warmups before the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 18, 2018 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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When the Minnesota Vikings take the field against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15, they will not be wearing their typical purple and gold cleats. Instead, they we will be wearing custom kicks for a cause.

On Dec. 16, the Vikings will take part in the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats initiative, which allows players to wear customized shoes during games to support a charity of their choice.

"It's really cool that the NFL allows us to do this and gives us the opportunity to be able to show support, give back to the community and do it on the field," Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen says. "It couldn't be a better way to do that."

Thielen, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receiver Stefon Diggs and tight end Tyler Conklin are just four of the players hoping to raise awareness for their causes. They spoke to Bleacher Report about their efforts and the cleat designs fans will see later this month.

        

Bleacher Report: What is your cause?

Stefon Diggs (Heart health): My grandma passed away and my dad passed away from [heart disease]. So, I try to use my platform now to, in my own way, pay respect to the things they went through.

Adam Thielen (Youth development): Kids that don't have the opportunities that most people have, and we're trying to give them those opportunities to be successful and to do big things.

Kirk Cousins (Community development): We view our foundation (the Julie & Kirk Cousins Foundation) as a vehicle to give to actual causes. We were talking about: Do we want to put our foundation on our cleats? But really, the foundation is the middle man. It's the vehicle for which to give and make a difference to [community] organizations that are actually making an impact. We wanted to focus on those organizations, because ultimately that's what it's about.

Tyler Conklin (Youth suicide prevention and awareness): My mom's life changed on Oct. 19, 1997. It was the day her brother, Terry Garner, chose to end his life. Having to endure the traumatic loss and complicated grief that happens after losing someone to suicide was one of the scariest things she ever had to face in her lifetime. She was lost for quite a while on how to be what they call a "suicide loss survivor." Part of her journey involved attending Survivors of Suicide support groups and a conference with her family. This not only was healing and helpful, it was then that she met some of the most awesome people that eventually helped change her life and path.

    

B/R: What organization you are supporting through your cleats?

SD: The American Heart Association. I've always picked them since I've been in the league. I've had some family members with heart problems. Throughout my journey, I try to pay respect to those. And I play with a lot of heart, so it fits.

AT: The Thielen Foundation. Both my wife and I have had those opportunities [to reach our full potential], and we've been around people that haven't had those opportunities. Hearing their stories, their struggles and how hard it was for them to get to where they were, it just made us want to give back in that area, especially to the people that don't have the opportunities we had growing up.

KC: Urban Homeworks. We just really liked the biblical perspective [executive director] Chad Schwitters operated with. He has a biblical worldview, which we thought was very important. He's making a difference, and it's a tangible difference that you can see. We wanted to do something that was local. All in all, we felt good about the project and the organization (dedicated in large part to helping develop affordable housing for those at lower income levels). The slogan is really good. 'Rebuilding neighborhoods. Reconnecting people. Reclaiming hope.' I think it really sums what they're trying to do.

TC: KnowResolve. My mom does a lot of work to help people with it, and she's done it her whole life. It's rubbed off on me. I feel like [youth suicide awareness] is something that sometimes doesn't get enough light shed on it. (KnowResolve aims to promote mental health awareness and educate people about suicide prevention techniques.) I just thought it was a unique way to get people to think about it more and start helping out more. It gets discussed sometimes, but it doesn't get discussed in depth. I think the most difficult thing is how you go about the situation. That's where the more awareness you bring to it, the more people can learn how to go about it. I think being able to have a national stage to help out is huge.

    

B/R: What do you think about the cleat design you'll be wearing?

SD: It's always fun working with [custom sneaker designer] Mache. He always comes up with a lot of bright ideas, too. He does something for every city that we're in. It's been great ever since I've been in the league and ever since we've connected. He's been making me some heat. I look forward to our relationship lasting for a very long time. As long as I'm playing, that's going to be my guy.

AT: Obviously, he's so talented. It makes it easy on me just to come up with a simple idea, and he makes it creative. I'm fortunate to have that relationship with him. I enjoy doing it and trying to bring the Minnesota theme into most of it, which I think is fun.

TC: These (featuring a retro vocal microphone) are sweet. … Kids love shoes. People love shoes, and people love music. I don't think there's a better combination.

KC: I just wanted to make sure the logo was on there and obviously the organization's name. They clearly focused on the colors of the organization. Hopefully, it will bring great awareness to the cause and more people can get behind Urban Homeworks like my wife and I have done.

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