Park Side Elementary shows its support for the Vikings

Photo by Jenny Kirk Students and staff at Park Side Elementary display their best “Skol Chant” on Friday afternoon in support of the Minnesota Vikings football team.

MARSHALL — Park Side Elementary students and staff enthusiastically showed their horns and purple pride as they took part in a KARE 11 “Skol Chant” challenge on Friday afternoon.

“It was cool,” second-grader Brooklyn Purrington said.

Purrington, who admits she is a Vikings fan, was among about 575 other K-2 students who joined together in support for the Minnesota football team, which is having a stellar season.

“We got an email from KARE 11 — they sent the challenge out to all schools in the state,” Park Side Principal Darci Love said. “I visited with some of our teachers and asked if we could pull this off. Thankfully, our staff is just incredible. They go with the flow. And actually, some of the staff were just as excited as the students.”

KARE 11 asked Minnesota schools to consider showing their pride for the Minnesota Vikings, who take on the New Orleans Saints in a playoff game on Sunday. Despite only having a day’s notice, Park Side was up for the challenge.

“We just encouraged all the kids to wear purple,” Love said. “We’re doing this as part of our PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) program. It’s super exciting.”

For the challenge, participants were asked to do their best Skol Vikings chant and send the video in for a chance to have it be shown during the KARE 11 newscast.

“Our plan was to have the kids sing the Vikings fight song and then have our Tiger mascot do the drum part,” Love said. “We also have about 20-30 kids who will do drums with the Tiger. Then for the horn at the end, we have a trombone player (Max Louwagie) and some kids will have kazoos.”

Coordinating the effort for nearly 600 elementary students is no easy task, but the young, purple-clad Vikings fans rose to the occasion, determined to give it all they had.

“It was amazing,” Love said. “I think we did a really good job.”

Love had encouraged teachers to send notes home, reminding students to wear purple or Vikings attire for the video challenge. Music teacher Paula Dovre stepped up to help teach the Skol Vikings song to students. Another teacher was instrumental in helping classes make colorful Viking helmets made out of paper.

“We did our horns (Friday),” second-grader Avery Schwarz said. “It was fun.”

The Skol Chant is a new tradition that was started when the Minnesota Vikings moved into U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016. At various points during a home game, Vikings fans raise their hands above their heads and clap twice to the beat of a large drum before yelling “Skol!”

The game-rallying chant was said to be borrowed from the “Viking War Chant” made famous by supporters of the Icelandic soccer team during their Cinderella run at Euro 2016.

According to others, Skol is the Danish/Norwegian/Swedish word for “cheers” or “good health.”

Regardless of its actual origins, the phrase is known to bring fans to together — and to do so in support of the Vikings.

“I hope they win,” Schwartz said of the Vikings game on Sunday.

A lot of Vikings fans would like to see them get to the Super Bowl, which is being held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis this year.

“That would be great,” Love said. “I’ve always been a Vikings fan.”