Sportress of Blogitude

Vikings fan attending first game just short of her 97th birthday

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Anna Burge, a 96-year-old native of Brownton, Minn., will attend her first Minnesota Vikings game Sunday when her favorite NFL team hosts the Houston Texans.

Burge recently took a tour of the Vikings’ $1 billion-plus new palace, U.S. Bank Stadium, in August. But she never expected she would ever attend a real, live Vikings game in person. In fact, she was quite surprised when informed she’d be in attendance — along with 11 relatives — on Sunday, just 11 days before her 97th birthday.

“I thought they were joking at first,” she said, via ESPN. “I could hardly believe it. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ [and they said], ‘No, no — not kidding.’ I think the kids knew it a long time before I did, but when Ryan called me and told me … I can’t explain it. It’s a dream come true.”

Burge became a football fan when her sons played as children. That transitioned well when the Vikings landed in Minnesota in 1961. She counts Fran Tarkenton as her favorite Vikings player.

The 96-year-old, who now resides in an assisted living facility in Hutchinson, Minn., counts herself a fan of many of the state’s sports teams. But one reigns supreme.

“There’s nobody like the Vikings,” she said.

All told, the Vikings have played a grand total of 550 home games in Minnesota during their existence — preseason, regular season, playoffs — split between six venues. And finally at Game No. 551, Burge will see the Purple in person.

“I can’t believe, at my age, that I’m going to be there,” she said. “It’s all going to be new to me — just a wonderful, wonderful thing to look forward to.”