Meet Andy Carlson. For many of our readers, you know Andy as the voice of Purple FTW! podcast. We at Vikings Territory have gotten to know Andy as not only an audio aficionado but as a family man, a Twitter fiend, a .GIF guru … and obviously, a Vikings fan.
Football runs in the Carlson blood—and for the most part, that blood is purple. Andy’s dad played football through high school, and his uncle Dean Carlson actually played three years in the NFL. Dean spent the majority of his career with Kansas City before a short stint with Green Bay—which, of course, “we don’t recognize,” ribs Andy.
Because of his family connection to the Chiefs, Andy identifies as a “down-low fan” of the team, second of course to Minnesota. Interestingly enough, the one game Dean started in was against the Vikings on Dec. 14, 1974.
Andy played for Rushford/Peterson High School, suiting up at both wide receiver and cornerback. He doesn’t consider himself an exceptional athlete, but being part of the team remains one of his favorite memories. He did have a few plays for the books, including a touchdown that made it onto the local KTTC news, and the team won the State Title in 2002 under Coach Jim Reinhardt (since retired).
Although he’s been a life-long Vikings fan, Andy says football transitioned from an interest to a passion during middle school, and 1998 proved a special season to kickstart his love of the Vikings.
“I imagine the ’09 season has a similar effect for kids who are around college age now,” Andy says. “It’s easy to get excited about your favorite team when they have a hot squad right when you’re starting to pay attention.”
Andy cheered for the Vikings alongside his dad. Starting in 1999, the father and son attended each Packers/Vikings game at the Dome. The final game they went to was Sept. 30, 2007, in which Brett Favre passed to Greg Jennings to break the career TD record.
Andy’s dad passed away in 2008, and Andy cherishes the memories of watching games together. Even when playing the hated division rivals, the pair held a mutual appreciation for well-played football.
“Dad always said, ‘It’s fine to dislike Brett Favre, but you gotta respect how he plays the game.'” Andy remembers. “I feel the same about [Aaron] Rodgers.”
Sharing the Vikings fandom with his family is valuable to Andy, and he was lucky enough to marry a fellow fan of the Purple and Gold. Krystal’s love for the team may not be as all-encompassing as Andy’s, but she is a supporter all the same. Is Andy’s intensity too much for her? He says no. Surprisingly, Andy doesn’t get too emotionally attached to games. (Husbands, take note.)
“I’m not a ‘swear at the TV or throw things guy,’ Andy explains. “I honestly have the demeanor of Leslie Frazier during games […] She enjoys watching the games and is actively trying to learn more about it, but I think that it helps that I’m not ‘obsessive’ in my obsession.”
It does help that things for the team are looking up, too.
Like most fans, Andy is loving the new coaching system and impact it’s already had. After jumping statistically the way the Vikings did in one season, “Zimmer is the key.”[pull_quote_center]I look forward to what his defense will look like in another 2-3 years, once he gets a full roster of ‘his guys’ and separates the wheat from the chaff. There’s a lot of young, physical talent on that defense ready to compete and bring out the best in everyone. Vikings fans should be elated about that side of the ball. [/pull_quote_center]
Offensively, Minnesota is definitely on the right track. Having Adrian Peterson back on the field this year (assuming that happens) will be significant, but Andy emphasizes that sophomore Teddy Bridgewater will undoubtedly shoulder more of the responsibility—in a positive way.
“Use [AP] as a battering ram to aid Teddy, but not to handcuff Teddy and possibly slow his progression,” Andy emphasizes. “This isn’t Adrian’s team anymore. It’s Zimmer’s, and eventually Teddy’s.”
Andy feels that the offensive line will be much improved heading into the 2015 season, especially considering Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco will be back from injuries.
And although he would like to see improvement on special teams, Andy is feeling great overall about where the Vikings are at. He says the following:[pull_quote_center]Cheering for the Vikings is the perfect microcosm of life: Nothing’s easy and bad things will happen at the least opportune moments, but you never lose faith and always skew towards the positives.[/pull_quote_center]
Anyone who meets Andy will get this vibe—positive, encouraging, fun … and a bit sarcastic. Andy’s infectious personality is evident on the proverbial sidelines, but it also lends itself exceptionally well to his other passion: podcasts and radio.
For Andy, his interest in audio started not long after his interest piqued for the Vikings.
“When I figured out how to record (and record over) on cassettes and got a mic, it became a hobby,” he explains. “I would splice together songs or clips of the Simpsons and pretend I was doing my own show.”
When Andy transitioned into high school, the hobby got put on the back burner while he pursued his education. Going on to receive college degree in economics, he soon found himself in “the real world” with a career in private equity.
But something was missing.
Sure, it paid the bills, but Andy had that itch to do something he loved. That’s where the podcast side gig came in. The Vikings fan started the Purple FTW! podcast during Week 14 of the 2013 season, and the show took off from there. Over 125 episodes—and 20,000 downloads per month—later, Andy is happy to see where the project has come… and eager to watch it continue growing.
“I want to be sports Oprah,” he says.
But for now? His short-term goal is to get into Twin Cities terrestrial sports talk radio, and he’s already assembling a portfolio and demo reel.[pull_quote_center]I know it’s a competitive field, but I feel I bring a lot to the table in terms of personality, natural ability to start conversations and now be awkward, self-made experience with the podcast, and dedication to the craft […]. Sometimes you don’t need a journalist or a reporter on the radio. You really do need a jack**s fan with a microphone. That’s me: Andy Carlson, fan of the people.[/pull_quote_center]
Andy is known by many as an incredibly skilled individual, and we have no doubts that he’ll soon reach his goal to be involved in mainstream radio. He has many adventures ahead, but the one right around the corner is the most important to him: fatherhood.
The Carlson’s will soon be welcoming a new little Vikings fan into their family, and Andy can’t wait to meet his daughter.
He’s been told by many that raising daughters is difficult, but Andy looks forward to the challenge. His responsible, protective father instincts are already taking hold, as he tells me she will never watch E! or Bravo (except for Top Chef).
“I want Margaret (nickname Mugsy) to know that it’s fine for a woman to be strong and independent. Be a leader and a good person […]. Sports-wise, if she loves the Vikings, great! It will be a nice bond that she and i will share like many father-child relationships. If she wants to be a Chargers fan because she likes the colors, that’s fine too.”
But if she wants to be a Packers fan? Well … I think we know the answer to that one.
Play-by-Play with Andy
Most played song on your iPod: “More Than a Feeling” by Boston
Favorite food/dish to make: Ribs. American preparation, Asian flavors
Favorite radio shows: Dan Patrick, PA, Barreiro, The Wakeup Call on 105 The Ticket, Mackey & Judd, Common, Dave Ramsey
Favorite podcasts: Adam Carolla, Around the NFL, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Entrepreneur on Fire, all of Bill Simmons’ stuff, Dameshek, Move the Sticks, How Did This Get Made, Wits
If you could have any guests on your podcast… Joe Kapp, Tommy Kramer, Bud Grant, Denny Green
First Vikings jersey owned: Cris Carter