Alexandria family 'went crazy,' in viral Vikings video
ALEXANDRIA—On Sunday, Ray Slaba shared a memorable moment with his sons and, eventually, the rest of the world.
The Hanson High School principal celebrated with his sons — Reggie and Jayce — as Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs scored a miraculous 61-yard touchdown to beat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional playoffs — now being dubbed as the Minneapolis Miracle.
"We've had a lot of years of not much luck in January as a Viking fan," Ray Slaba said. "So I think we just kind of went crazy."
But Ray had no idea that Reggie had his phone propped on the couch and it was recording the last 5 to 10 minutes of the game from their home in Alexandria. Reggie got the idea from the 2015 NFC Wild Card playoffs when Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh hooked his potential game-winning field goal against the Seattle Seahawks.
"When he missed it, there was a bunch of reaction videos on TV," Reggie said. "I just said, 'In case something crazy happens here, I am just going to set-up my phone.' "
Reggie did not tell his father and brother. And that's evident in their genuine reactions when Diggs sprinted toward the goal line in one of the craziest finishes in NFL playoff history.
The father and sons immediately began jumping up and down, while shouts and screams ensued. Ray, wearing a Cris Carter jersey, hugged Reggie before the father and son fell to the floor. Jayce, wearing a Diggs jersey, disappears and reappears screaming at the top of his lungs. Ray is shouting, "Are you kidding me?!"
"It's a little embarrassing sometimes," Ray said. "But at the same time — you know what — this doesn't happen every day."
Reggie cropped out the minutes leading into the final play and it was sent to family members. His first-cousin, Riley Hoffman, asked Reggie if he could tweet it and he sent it out at 9:10 p.m. that night, with the caption: "As you can probably tell, we got some Vikings fans in the family."
"I knew that we had to get it out the night that it happened, otherwise people wouldn't be interested anymore," Hoffman said. "I think if we wouldn't have done that, it wouldn't have been as popular, but I am glad that we did."
The tweet has since gone viral. It's closing in on 1,900 retweets and 11,000 likes, which is easily the most traction Hoffman has received for any tweet.
"I think my tweet before that only had about three likes and this one has about 11,000," said Hoffman, who is a graduate of Platte-Geddes High School and a freshman at South Dakota State University.
Hoffman and Reggie have been contacted by numerous national media outlets for permission to use the video. NFL Network, CBS, NBC and HLN News have all ran it. It was included in the Vikings' video montage online of fan reactions to the play. On Twitter alone, it's received more than 100 comments, 495,000 views and Carter even re-tweeted it.
"I didn't think it would get as big as it did," Reggie said. "I think it's pretty cool because it's not going to happen very often that you get a play like that."
Just ask Ray, who has been a Minnesota fan for as long as he can remember. He experienced heartbreak in 1987 when Darrin Nelson dropped the ball at the goal line in the NFC Championship. Then there was the Gary Anderson missed field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship game and the Walsh miss.
But the Vikings flipped the script on Sunday, and Ray was able to celebrate it with his sons.
"I remember, as a kid, even crying in '87 when they lost that title game," Ray said. "You get an attachment to it. But I am not so proud of me jumping around like that. But oh well, when something good happens, you have to enjoy it."