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Meet "Little Kirko Chainz": The Eastern Iowa boy who has become an unofficial mascot for the Vikings

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DENVER, Iowa (KWWL)- He is part mascot and part good luck charm for the Minnesota Vikings. Eight-year-old Lincoln Gustafson of Denver has become known as "Little Kirko Chains." The young Vikings fans went viral after he and his family went to the Vikings-Patriots game on Thanksgiving.

"Surreal is probably a good way to describe it," Lincoln's mom Hether said. "Every day is just a new surprise."

Lincoln has purple and gold pumping through his veins.

"He comes from a long line of Vikings fans," Lincoln's dad Derek said. "His great grandpa, his grandpa, me and now him."

The game on Thanksgiving was his first Vikings game, and he wanted to find the perfect outfit.

"Lincoln was trying to figure out what he was going to go as because he had a little friend that got on the Jumbotron a couple of weeks earlier at a game," Derek said.

One of Derek's co-workers, who is also a Vikings fan, suggested Lincoln dress like Quarterback Kirk Cousins in viral videos, where he is dancing with chains around his neck on the team airplane to celebrate road victories this season.

"When I got home, my mom showed me the video, and I thought it'd be cool to wear it," Lincoln said.

After he could not find the jersey he wanted, he went with the TikTok idea.

He went to the game shirtless and sported his glasses, plastic chains and a Vikings winter hat.

He got on the jumbotron quite often, especially in the fourth quarter of the game against the Patriots. Every time the camera was on him, Lincoln started dancing, and the crowd in the stadium went crazy.

"During one TV timeout, he showed up once or twice," Derek said, "Then the last time, they put the "Captain Kirk" graphic above his head, and the whole stadium lit up. It was really neat."

Lincoln has earned the nickname "Little Kirko Chainz." He got the attention of everyone in the stadium, and some Vikings players noticed him in the stands, including Cousins.

"The young kid in the stands who was shirtless, that was just tremendous," Cousins said in his press conference after the game. "We may have to hire him as a team mascot. That was awesome. We had a TV timeout, and the guys in the huddle are just loving it. We may have to come up with a name for him, get him some tickets, and bring him back."

Asked if he would make a good mascot for the Vikings, Lincoln said absolutely, and it is a role he is more than happy to fill.

The Gustafsons saw a clip of Cousins talking about Lincoln while they were back at their hotel in Minneapolis, trying to put their kids to bed.

"We're just kind of scrolling the internet just to calm down and came across it," Derek said. "Our jaws hit the floor pretty quickly."

The Vikings got in touch with them this week and arranged for the two to talk. "Big Kirko Chainz" and "Little Kirko Chainz" spoke over zoom on Thursday.

"I think we were giddier than he was," Derek said.

Lincoln was excited to talk with Kirk, even if it was virtually. The two talked about his outfit, and Lincoln wished him good luck in this weekend's game.

"It was cool," Lincoln said. "He was really nice."

Number eight had a surprise for Lincoln, who turned eight on Sunday. He invited Lincoln and his family to spend his birthday at U.S. Bank Stadium, cheering on the Vikings as they played the Jets.

"My heart was racing," Lincoln said. "I was super excited."

Lincoln's parents say it is a birthday gift that may be hard to top.

"What a great birthday present this year," Derek said. "I think we're going to fail every year from here on out, but it'll be one we all remember."

Lincoln was again shirtless and rocking his plastic chains for Sunday's game. He and his family went down to the field before the game. While he was warming up, Kirk Cousins came over to say hello. "Big Kirko Chainz" met "Little Kirko Chainz."

"We're enjoying the moment and trying to make the most out of it," Hether said. "I don't know how often this happens to a regular fan, but it's been fun to see him pulled out of the mix and given an opportunity like this. It has been an awesome week."

For a family full of generations of Vikings fans, the last few days have been the experience of a lifetime.

"Being fans our whole life, we just feel pretty blessed by the opportunity and hope everybody sees some positive influence from it and hopefully helps the team stay loose," Derek said. "Lincoln is a brave little guy, so he'll do about everything."

It seems Little Kirko may be a good luck charm for Big Kirko. Cousins and the Vikings are 2-0 in games that Lincoln has been at. The Vikings beat the Jets on Sunday 27-22.