As a child growing up in Minnesota in the ’70s, the purple warriors of the gridiron, like Fred Cox, Bobby Bryant, Milt Sunde, Jeff Siemon, Mark Mullaney, Ed White, and Paul Krause, were my “heroes.” Imagine, nearly 50 years later, having the opportunity to talk to those heroes and many veterans of college and pro football.
When I learned that many of my boyhood heroes were also men of faith, I felt called to ask them some questions. In Purple Heroes, you’ll hear directly from those who played the game. Although they were successful professional athletes, they recognized the need for something more in their lives. More than fifty former NFL players contributed their thoughts, testimonies, and football stories to this book.
“For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Such men deserve recognition. First Corinthians 16:18 NIV"
"I trust this book will increase the brotherhood of faith! Having played football for twenty-seven years from age ten, I found that successful team, in most cases, developed a brotherhood with one another. When those brothers are also " brother in Christ", the bond is even stronger! Thank you to my Viking brothers!" - Bobby Bryant, MN Viking 1968- 1980, All Pro 1969 & 1975, Pro Bowl 1975 & 1976
"This life I was given was God's gift to me. But what I have done with this life, is my gift back to Him." - Anthony Bass, MN Vikings 1998-99, Pastor of Endurance Church, Brooklyn Park, MN
Craig Olsen, a lifelong Viking fan, describes this book as a "calling." In the early 1970s, football card collecting planted the seeds for this book. Craig's early work experiences at Met Stadium and Met Center, where he earned "Employee of the Month" honors in 1984, fueled his love for sports. Although not gifted athletically, he took up endurance running, completing marathons like Boston, New York, Chicago, and the 2006 Wisconsin Ironman Triathlon.
He has taught special education for over 30 years. Three pivotal events put Christ at the center of his life. First, he married Kelly in 2009. Second, God brought a son, Cristian, into their lives in 2011. Third, an invitation to a Bible study in 2017 led to a more profound understanding of the Word and a passion for ministry. Writing Purple Heroes inspired Craig to start a Youtube channel called Faith-Football-Forever.