Vikings legend Cris Carter announces 2023 Down for the Challenge event

Jun 12, 2023

Legendary Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter announced the 2023 Down for the Challenge urban rappelling event during a rooftop press conference at the Omni Viking Lakes Hotel in Eagan (view photos). The third-annual event will be held July 28–29 during Vikings training camp, when nearly 200 people will rappel down the 14-story hotel to raise money for Salvation Army programs that fight homelessness. 


Carter is passionate about the cause because The Salvation Army helped his family while he was growing up in southwest Ohio. His mother raised him and his six siblings by herself and struggled often. 

“We had a lot of needs,” Carter recalled. “As young people we were looking for food to eat and clothes to wear. The Salvation Army provided for my family.”

His family went on to do great things: Four of his siblings graduated from college; his mother completed undergraduate and master’s degrees; and his brother, Butch Carter, played seven seasons in the National Basketball Association. 

“The Salvation Army helped my family reach their full potential,” added Carter, who was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2013. 

Carter is also passionate about the issue of homelessness. 

“The numbers are staggering,” said Carter, noting that there are about 20,000 homeless Minnesotans on any given night. “We also have an unusual number of young people who are homeless. What are the chances of those kids reaching their full potential if they don’t have a place to call home? That’s why I’m down for the challenge.”

Down for the Challenge seeks to raise $600,000 for Salvation Army housing and homeless-prevention programs in the Twin Cities. The Salvation Army operates 25 housing facilities in Minnesota that shelter hundreds of people every night, with rent and utility assistance programs that last year helped save thousands of households from eviction. 

For every $1,000 a rappeler raises for Down for the Challenge, The Salvation Army can:

  • Provide 17 nights of emergency shelter, nutritious meals and care
  • Prevent a family from being evicted
  • Offer one month of transitional housing for 3 people
  • Provide 5,550 pounds of food, or 3,330 meals

“Breaking the cycle of generational poverty is a difficult challenge for people to overcome,” said Lt. Colonel Dan Jennings, Salvation Army Northern Division Commander. “The Down For The Challenge initiative provides support for our housing and homelessness prevention programs that help people onto a path to success by addressing the underlying causes of homelessness.” 


Watch this highlight video from last year's Down for the Challenge event. 

Are you Down for the Challenge? You can support The Salvation Army’s efforts to fight homelessness by donating to or participating in our Down for the Challenge urban rappelling event with the Minnesota Vikings. This adrenaline-pumping event takes place July 28-29 at the Omni Viking Lakes Hotel during Vikings training camp.

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