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'Goose' vs. 'gray duck': Vikings celebration sparks national debate over name of game

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Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (82) celebrates with teammates after scoring touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second half at Soldier Field in Chicago on Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Matt Marton / USA TODAY Sports2 / 2

ST. PAUL — Backup quarterback Case Keenum may have rallied the Vikings in the second half of its 20-17 victory over the Bears on Monday Night Football, but the Texas native's postgame comments re-sparked some debate across the country.

Celebrating Keenum's touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph in the third quarter, eight Vikings formed a circle in the end zone, waiting to be picked in a game of "duck, duck, gray duck." Rudolph, born in Ohio, picked Pat Elflein out of the circle, yelling "goose!" The group sprang up and celebrated the team's first touchdown of the game, but that was just the beginning of the uproar.

"Where I come from in Texas, it's goose. Kyle called it 'duck, duck, goose' in the huddle right before the play, so obviously Kyle is a goose fan as well," Keenum said in the postgame news conference. "What exactly is a gray duck? I've duck-hunted before and never heard, 'Oh, there's a gray duck.' "

ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden called the game "duck, duck, goose" on air, causing a surge in Twitter debate during the game.

Both names are variants of the same game, which has Scandinavian origins. Minnesota, having the largest ethnic-Swede population in the country, subscribes to the Swedish translation "anka, anka, grå anka," meaning duck, duck, gray duck, while the rest of the country plays "anka, anka, gås."

The debate may never end as Minnesota has strongly held onto its quirkiness: pop, not soda; hot dish, not casserole. Duck, duck, gray duck is another artifact that the state has come to cherish, naming food trucks, restaurants, even the University of Minnesota's ultimate frisbee team after the game.

The only certainty with duck, duck, gray duck is innately it's Minnesotan.