[size=13pt]Player appearances: A change in face value[/size]

Last update: September 07, 2006 – 6:32 PM

Brad Madson's phone rings a lot. As the Vikings' director of community relations, Madson coordinates public appearances and charitable activities for players, coaches and administrators.
Since the Vikings' popularity began skyrocketing in the late 1990s, rare was the day when Madson wasn't fielding a request for Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Daunte Culpepper or Michael Bennett. And now?

"I'm getting more requests than ever," Madson said. "More than 300 a week. That's a tribute to the Wilf ownership group, that they want to bring in character guys.

"But as far as the individual requests that I would get for Daunte or Randy, those people are calling but not being specific about who they want. We don't know who the face of the team is. It's kind of a gestalt thing."

New fullback Tony Richardson, known for his philanthropic work when he was with Kansas City, is a strong candidate. Richardson kicked off the Vikings' Community Tuesday program this week by donating $10,000 to buy a dictionary for every third-grade student in Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools.