The best gig in sports

The Minnesota Vikings' Flag Runners smile for a photo prior to the Vikings' game against the Miami Dolphins at US Bank Stadium. Pictured (left to right): Corey Block, Steve Bergren, Bruce Becker, Jeff Klatt, Ryan Cleasby, Troy Houn, Scott Adamek, Joel Langeberg, and Kevin Langeberg. Not pictured: Adam Smith. (Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings)

A crew of local guys has landed what some might call the best gig in sports.

Prior to every Minnesota Vikings' home game, the long-time friends pile into someone's vehicle and head to US Bank Stadium. They have their own parking spots, NFL-issued game-day uniforms, and a designated locker area.

They watch the game from the sidelines and are on the field multiple times each game -- and they get paid for it. They are the Vikings' Flag Runners.

They run giant purple flags that spell V-I-K-I-N-G-S across the field when the team scores.

"It sounds made up, right?" laughed Kevin Langeberg of New Prague, a 14-year veteran flag runner. "It's a sweet gig! We have a lot of fun."

Langeberg joined the flag team in 2003 after "a friend of a friend" informed his friend and co-worker, Jeff Klatt of Minneapolis, that the Vikings' Flag Runners needed two guys to help with a couple of games.

"Jeff and I subbed for about a year and then became full-timers," Langeberg explained. "Of course, whenever we needed someone to run flags, I'd call up one of my buddies."

In 2008, Langeberg and Klatt took over managing the flag team.

This year, seven of the 10 flag runners are graduates of Montgomery-Lonsdale High School because, well... Langeberg was a Redbird.

"Growing up in Lonsdale and attending Montgomery- Lonsdale School, we knew pretty much everyone five years older and five years younger than us, and I'm still friends with a lot of them," stated the 1995 Montgomery- Lonsdale graduate.

Flag runners Adam Smith of Montgomery, Joel Langeberg of Lonsdale, Troy Houn of Lakeville, Ryan Cleasby of Lonsdale, Corey Block of Le Center, and Scott Adamek of New Prague are also Montgomery-Lonsdale graduates.

"Our area is well represented on the field at home games," stated Langeberg. "I've had probably 20 other guys from our area sub at times, too."

The other three flag runners-- Klatt, Bruce Becker, and Steve Bergen--hail from Minneapolis, Minnetonka, and Prior Lake, respectively.

The flag team follows the...

To see more on this story pick up the Ocotber 12, 2017 Montgomery Messenger or The New Prague Times.