EAGAN, Minn. (KELO) — C.J. Ham may be the lone area connection to the Vikings football team, but there’s plenty of others from KELOLAND working for the organization, including in the team’s communications department, where Spearfish native Sam Newton has risen to the ranks of a senior manager.

We first introduced you to Sam Newton back in 2010, when he was an intern with the Vikings while studying at Minnesota State Mankato.

“It’s always been a goal to work for a professional organization, especially sports because I’ve been into them my whole life,” Newton said.

12 years later Newton is still with the Vikings, but now as their Senior Football Communications Manager.

“Yeah I don’t know if I had the foresight to even look that far 12 years ago. But it’s been an unbelievable opportunity doing this and having this and learning from a lot of great people here,” Vikings Senior Football Communications Manager Sam Newton said.

Newton says it may sound cliche, but the most rewarding part of the job remains the relationships he’s built.

“Coworkers or players, whoever may it be and still having those relationships after they go elsewhere and that bond is more than just showing up to work. It’s a lifelong bond,” Newton said.

Whether it’s Adrian Peterson from his early days, or Adam Thielen now, any feeling of being star-struck went away a long time ago.

“They’re just people, who want to have conversations, get to know you as a human,” Newton said.

The last couple of years have thrown Newton and company some curveballs. First with the pandemic, and then with a brand new regime taking over this season.

“Every year there’s always something new. There’s always something different from the year before. So it keeps you on your toes,” Newton said.

But he’s enjoyed every step of the journey.

“I’ve had a lot of fun. I knew I was having fun back then, but very fortunate,” Newton said.

Newton isn’t the only local connection within the the Vikings communications department. Jeff Anderson, the Vikings Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, grew up near Okoboji, Iowa.