Vikings' punter wants to awaken the force in kicker, who's never seen 'Star Wars'


EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Shortly after the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer debuted at halftime of Monday Night Football two nights ago, Minnesota Vikings punter Jeff Locke took to Twitter with the buoyancy of a 7-year-old kid.

"Best. Christmas. Ever. #starwars," Locke tweeted. Now, he's working on turning his roommate into a fan.

Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has never seen any of the six previous "Star Wars" films, and before he attends an opening weekend showing of "The Force Awakens" -- Locke has already reserved seats to an Imax 3D showing for Walsh, long snapper Kevin McDermott, McDermott's wife and himself -- he's seeing to it that Walsh gets caught up on the story.

Not with all six episodes, though.

"I was telling Blair just to watch the originals (Episodes 4, 5 and 6). There's no need to watch the second trilogy, because he'll know what's happened," Locke said. "That's going to be part of my job over the next two months, educating Blair before we see the new one."

Locke and his brothers grew up as fervent fans of the series, and as such, he didn't get as much out of the prequels because he was already well-versed in the story. In fact, Locke said, there's a way to watch all six episodes while preserving the impact of the series' seminal moment.

"In the new order, you watch 1-2-4, 5-3-6," Locke said. "Then the third one doesn't ruin the, "Luke, I am your father" hit. I was told this by someone else. You don't want '5' to be ruined by the ending of '3.'"

Locke's favorite, he said, is the original 1977 film, now known as "Episode 4: A New Hope," just because, "It's so out of nowhere.

"If that's the first movie you've seen, kind of space-related or whatever, it's insane, just to think about it," he said. "Hearing my parents talk about it, when they first saw it, the graphics back in the day, they were blown away by it. It's a cool history. I kind of relate it to when I talk to my mom about scary movies of hers back in the day. She talks about some movies that were scary, like 'It' and 'Poltergeist' and 'The Shining' and 'Psycho,' or 'The Birds.' And I'm just like, 'What -- this was scary?' She's just saying, 'This was terrifying.' With all the CGI nowadays, and what we expect to see, putting yourself back and seeing what it was like then, it's awesome."

The punter's group won't see the movie at a midnight premiere on Dec. 18 -- the Vikings have practice the next morning -- but they'll go that Friday night, before the team comes back for a walk-through in advance of Sunday's game against the Bears. Locke said he's not a huge fan of 3D movies, but added, "I'll probably see it a couple times."

So what did he think of the trailer?

"I thought it was great," Locke said. "The biggest nostalgia is just seeing Harrison (Ford) and (Princess) Leia and everything, all the old stuff coming back out. It looks like it's kind of following the theme of the older movies, rather than the newer trilogies. I'm like a little kid again, pretty much."