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Former Vikings in town for basketball game

Seven former Minnesota Vikings players will be in town Sunday to play a basketball game against members of the Red Bull National Guard and members of the 2009-10 Albert Lea Tribune boys’ basketball all-area team.

Former Vikings Matt Blair, Ted Brown, Joey Browner, Rufus Bess, John Turner, Rickey Foggie, Carl Hilton and John Swain as part of Matt Blair’s Minnesota Vikings Traveling Basketball team will participate in the game at Southwest Middle School in an event sponsored by the Albert Lea American Legion.

Albert Lea American Legion manager Todd Utpadel was looking for an event that would help give back to the community and remembered when he had the opportunity to play basketball against former Vikings when he was in high school. After contacting Blair, he had a game.

Several organizations will benefit from the game, including the different area schools which are represented on the all-area team, the Red Bull National Guard and others.

“We want to the people to understand that we want to support the community,” Utpadel said.

Utpadel said the legion helped raise thousands of dollars for local organizations and youth sports teams in the past year by hosting various meal nights.

“We’re really hoping that this becomes an annual event,” he said.

Doors will open at 2 p.m. at Southwest Middle School and the game will begin at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door and are available at the Albert Lea American Legion, Fisher Jewelers, Albert Lea Seed House, Dave Syverson Ford, BP Korner Marts, and Thermo King.