For the fourth year in a row, former Vikings Linebacker EJ Henderson led more than 70 boys and girls in drills during the annual Vikings Kids Camp on the campus of Mankato East High School.

Henderson spent nine seasons with Skol nation, and coming back to where each season began brings back nostalgia.

Henderson says "It's always special to come back here, it always brings back memories of camp. When we started our state movement for our kids camp, Mankato was the number one place to be just because the special memories, the players, all the above."

Wednesday marked the final opportunity for these 3rd-8th graders to learn about techniques through drills and scrimmages.

The group also learned three key words throughout the camp; respect, student–athlete and perseverance.

9-year-old Joshua Kanutson from Eagle Lake says "I've used perseverance so much this camp. They don't let me give up and I don't let myself give up. I'm really happy that my parents let me come here."

Celebrating his 9th birthday, Reed Bohlke from Mankato says "Playing football and being a part of the game has been my favorite part because it's fun and I love football."

The annual event attracts children from across southern Minnesota, helping form friendships as well as breed competition.

Parents have also appreciated watching their children learn and participate in this camp.

Blue Earth's Luis Rodriguez (father of camper) says "It's very exciting for him. He's always wanted to play football and of course it's always hard for small communities like this to find programs. Me myself, I come from San Antonio where we are big into football so this is really exciting for him. He was really excited to come and you can tell all these kids here are just enjoying their time."

Relishing the moment they were, smiling and laughing throughout the day, along with taking home life lessons and of course football knowledge.

EJ Henderson and the Minnesota Vikings will host its next Kids Camp in Rochester from June 28th-29th.

To learn more about youth camps, you can visit

- KEYC 12