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Vikings fever

Detroit Lakes resident Kathie Sagmo, removed a box of Moss' Magic Crunch cereal from her Viking memorabilia cabinet. She's been collecting Vikings items since 1962. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 3
Even her pet dog, Cassie, wears Vikings gear. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 3
Kathie Sagmo's china cabinet is filled with Minnesota Vikings memorabilia, including two Chuck Foreman signed hats and a "tailgate truck" from the Danbury Mint. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)3 / 3

Kathie Sagmo of Detroit Lakes has been a stalwart Minnesota Vikings fan since 1962, a year after the professional football team was founded.

Her wood-frame house on Lincoln Avenue is full of Vikings memorabilia and collectibles -- some given as gifts, some purchased at rummage sales, and some hand-made by her nieces and nephews.

"You'd be surprised where you might see something (around the house)" she says.

There's a handmade Vikings lampshade created by her sister, Kandy, who also made her a Vikings "diaper" featuring former receiver Randy Moss on the back.

"That was when Randy Moss was still with us," she said sadly.

The diaper could represent the talented Moss' work ethic, judging from her comments about his not-always-stellar attitude.

Sagmo, 58, has a china cabinet full of eclectic Vikings stuff, dating back to when she started collecting as a girl in 1962.

There's a talking Vikings bottle opener that sings the "Monday Night Football" theme song, a Vikings ring, a Vikings bracelet, and a large Vikings "tailgate truck" from the Danbury Mint.

"We all chipped in and got that for her one year," says a sister, DeAnn McWethy of Callaway.

There are purple and gold craft pieces made by her young relatives, and an unopened cereal box of Moss' Magic Crunch, a Lucky Charms-type cereal that features Moss' photo on the cover and lettering proclaiming him "1998 Rookie of the Year."

There are player photos from Vikings training camp in Mankato, provided by a friend.

And of course there are purple and gold hats -- including one signed by famed running back Chuck Foreman -- as well as sweatshirts and jackets.

"She has zillions of Vikings sweatshirts," McWethy said.

Sagmo's favorite player over the years is receiver Cris Carter, whose character matched his great talent.

She also has a soft spot for "old (former coach) Bud Grant and the old Purple People Eaters, playing out there in the cold."

Her little dog, Cassie, has a specially-made Vikings coat and sports a Vikings hanky around her neck.

Even the garage is Vikings territory, with signs that say "Vikings Drive," "Stop -- Danger Ahead -- Vikings Country," and "Reserved parking -- Vikings Fans Only."

She saved a Paul Marquart campaign brochure on which the state representative wrote, "Sorry I missed you -- I like your Vikings signs."

She also has Vikings game schedules from "back when Doc Wething was a chiropractor," and gave them out, she said.

Sagmo grew up in Detroit Lakes and for the past 16 years worked for Medi-Van in Detroit Lakes. Among other office duties, she received toll-free calls from people across the state and re-routed them to dispatchers in their area.

"I talked to thousands of people," she said.

She had to quit work after she was diagnosed with lung cancer Nov. 30. The cancer had spread throughout her body before it was detected. She is being treated with chemotherapy and blood transfusions at Roger Maris Cancer Center, but it's a tough fight.

At her home on Thursday, she was attended by her sister, DeAnn, her friend, Rebel Stiyer and her dad, Chester Sagmo.

Sagmo fought back tears as she showed a purple and gold quilt made by an old friend, Kathy Disse, and signed by well-wishers.

Like all long-time Vikings fans, Sagmo has ridden an emotional roller coaster over the years, as the team fell short in the playoffs, or made it to the Super Bowl, but couldn't get the win.

Like everyone else, she hopes quarterback Brett Favre can make this the Year of the Vikings.

"I'm hoping they'll do it this year," she said.

But win or lose, Sagmo will remain a die-hard Vikings fan.

One of her favorite possessions is a pair of glasses bedecked on each side with small deer horns, made by her brother-in-law, Darcy Bellefeuille.

On the inside, above the lens, it reads "Go" "Vikings" and on the outside it reads "Next" "Year."

"I'm going to be wearing these when I go," Sagmo said with a smile.