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Saints punter wants to meet fourth-grade class from Thielen's hometown

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz (3) celebrates with punter Thomas Morstead (6) after kicking a field goal against the Minnesota Vikings during the fourth quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff football game at U.S. Bank Stadium last weekend. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead wants to meet with elementary students from Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen's hometown.

A fourth-grade class at Rossman Elementary School in Detroit Lakes joined Vikings fans who have given to Morstead's charity since the Saints' dramatic loss to the Vikings last Sunday in the NFL playoffs.

Nick Alton's class posted a video on Twitter on Friday morning, Jan. 19, with a message that his students had raised $64 for Morstead's foundation called "What You Give Will Grow."

Morsteated retweeted the 31-second video and wrote: "How can I meet this class. Just made my wife cry."

Five students from Alton's class combined to say this message to Morstead in the video:

"Thanks Thomas Morstead for teaching us fourth graders in Detroit Lakes, Minn., an awesome lesson on sportsmanship. We've pooled $64 together to add to your awesome charity foundation."

Then the video continued and Alton said: "called ..."

The entire class yelled: "What You Give Will Grow."

The video ended with a "Who Dat" and "Skol" chant. "Who Dat" is a common phrase used by Saints fans. "Skol" is a chant used by Vikings fans.

"I think this little lesson that Thomas Morstead showed can go a long way," said Alton, who played wide receiver at Concordia College from 2005-2008. "I know a lot of these kids will remember that morning meeting."

Alton said the idea to raise the money for Morstead's foundation came from his students after a daily morning meeting on Thursday. Alton read a Star Tribune article to the class about Morstead's foundation and his sportsmanship after tough loss.

"Immediately my kids were like 'Hey, we're donating,' " Alton said.

The video Alton posted on his Twitter account had more than 63,000 views as of late Friday afternoon. Morstead's tweet that he wanted to meet the fourth-grade class was also retweeted by Thielen.

Thielen wrote: "#Lakernation #hometown we all appreciate you @thomasmorstead"

Alton said his students were thrilled when he showed them their video was first recognized by Morstead and then hometown hero Thielen.

"They just couldn't believe it," Alton said. "They were really excited about it."

Alton said he didn't expect the video to garner this much attention.

"It was like let's just tweet this out and maybe (Morstead) will get a kick out of it."

Alton watched the Vikings-Saints game last Sunday and noticed Morstead was one of the first Saints to come out of the locker room for the final extra-point play after the Vikings scored an improbable touchdown on the game's final play for a dramatic 29-24 victory in the NFC Divisional Playoff.

Morstead had been injured earlier in the game, but continued to play and came out for the mandatory point-after attempt, even though the game had been decided.

That show of sportsmanship motivated Vikings fans to donate to Morstead's foundation, and in turn, Morstead pledged to give that money to Children's Minnesota.

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, Morstead tweeted that he'd fly up to Minneapolis the week of the Super Bowl for a check presentation with Children's Minnesota if donations reached $100,000.

As of Friday afternoon, Vikings fans had donated more than $200,000 to Morstead's foundation.

"I think it so cool that Thomas Morstead is throwing the money back here to Minnesota," Alton said. "That is just remarkable."

Alton said Friday afternoon, he received extra donations from parents to make the total donation from his class $212. Alton also received a message from the executive director of Morstead's foundation Friday, but they hadn't been able to connect yet.

Alton said his class would love to meet Morstead if that could be worked out.

"That would be amazing. That would be awesome," Alton said. "I have a lot of kids that would love to meet the guy."

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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