Earlier this week, a shooting took place at a St. Paul Bar that injured 14 and left one dead. Three men were arrested earlier this week, and one of those men, in his early 30's, has been charged by prosecutors with murder.
That tragic event happened just 15 minutes, and 8.5 miles from where the Vikings play their home games.
At a team presser yesterday, assistant head coach / defensive line coach / co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson, who has been in coaching for nearly four decades and has poured a lot into the local community over the years, was asked if he ever feels the work he puts in around the community after being a member of the Vikings staff the past decade has been "in vain."
"I have never felt that way," Patterson starts off by sharing, noting that he grew up in the murder capital of the US and saw things no kid should see in elementary and middle school.
"I know, that if you put in the time, you put in the effort, and you keep fighting, and you never give up, that you have a chance to bring other people along and things get better and better over time. It never changes overnight and it is always a constant struggle."
"But here I am today, and I guarantee you, back in high school, you'd have never thought that would have happened. My mom stood behind me, and I was fortunate to have coaches that backed me for me to see that there is a different way of living life. That's what it's about."
He went on to spent five minutes sharing his philosophy on something much bigger than coaching, and about life.
"That's what it is all about. To show these young men and women out there that there is hope, and they do have a chance to be better. What they're living in, and what they're seeing, isn't all that life is about and that they do have a chance to succeed."
"You see, if I don't think that I'm going to live past 21 or 25, then I don't have a problem taking from you what I want from you. But when I know that I have a future, and that future is sitting in front of me, then I am willing to fight to make myself better."
"That's where we have to go out, as a society, and community, to show these young people that you do have a chance to succeed. You might not have what you want right now, but if you are willing to pay the price, you are willing to get an education, and you're willing to make yourself better, the world is open to you."
"But they have to hear that message, and they have to hear that message from people that look like me, and our players. So I am never going to give that up. I'm never going to think that it's over because bad things happen. I'm never going to believe that, because I know that things can be better."
Patterson's moment at the podium is being universally applauded for the message it shares about life, adversity, and hope. Catch the full five-minute response below.