Heading into the Vikings locker room this season there was something new that caught my eye. It wasn't the newly acquired free agents from the offseason or a new decor spread throughout the room.
In the far back corner of the Winter Park locker room, nearest to the stall marked 'Sendejo', sits a bird. It's a two and a half foot eagle, to be exact, a statue stoically looking down the string of lockers seemingly serving no purpose at all. Naturally I assumed that there was some sort of inside joke surrounding the bird but even my best Sherlock Holmes investigation couldn't figure it out on my own. So today, we asked Andrew Sendejo what the deal is with the bird.
"He kind of just watches over the locker room while we're not here," Sendejo explained.
He's not just some nameless, faceless statue either. The team, mainly those surrounding Sendejo's locker have adopted the plastic bird as a pseudo mascot for the room calling him a bevy of names like Ed "Hawk"-uly, Steven "Hawk"ing, Ethan "Hawk"e and Tony "Hawk".
According to Sendejo, the bird was a Christmas gift from former teammate Audie Cole (now with Jacksonville) last year and he didn't really know what to do with it, so he brought it in to the locker room and started dressing it up.
Today it was dressed in a sharp looking Halloween themed tuxedo t-shirt with a partially filled candy basket resting at it's feet. An outfit that Kyle Rudolph wasn't impressed with at all.
"It's not very creative for 'Dejo," Rudolph said. "I would imagine that's just the pre-costume. I know he's more creative than that."
To date we've seen it donning the colors of specific college teams, wearing a mask of "The Night King" and miniature Vikings gear but by the sounds of it Sendejo has some cool things up his sleeve for the team's unofficial locker room mascot.
"Right now it's Halloween time thus [tuxedo]," Sendejo said. "Come thanksgiving we'll dress him up, Christmas time we've already got something planned.
For now, the getting has been good for the Vikings and as professional athletes are seemingly as superstitious if not more superstitious than normal people, don't be surprised if the costumes and fun continues as long as the winning does.