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What does ‘Skol’ mean? Explaining the Vikings’ war chant and how it started

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Whether it’s skol, skaal or skål, the Vikings have one of the coolest traditions in the NFL.

Vikings fans are a passionate bunch — they have to be to support Kirk Cousins as their quarterback, after all (just a joke). When you tune into a Vikings home game, you’ll notice plenty of purple and gold, lots of fans dressed in viking-esque garb and a very, very loud chant that goes a bit like this:

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(That’s “SKOL,” for the uninitiated.)

While the Vikings have always had one of the most colorful fanbases and some of the league’s best traditions, the skol chant isn’t as old as you might think it is.

Here’s what the chant means, and where it came from:

What does ‘Skol’ mean?

“Skol” is a derivative of the Swedish/Danish/Norweigen word “skål.” A “skål” is a bowl that fits beverages, that was shared between people. Over the years, it evolved to essentially mean “cheers.” Now, it’s used essentially as a celebratory cheer whenever the Vikings score, and pre-game.

The Vikings have been using “Skol” since their introduction as a franchise in 1961, as it was part of their fight song.

Vikings ‘Skol’ chant origins

While the Vikings have been using “Skol” since 1961 as part of their fight song, the “Skol” chant as it’s known today didn’t come to be until the Vikings moved to U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016.

Before every game, Vikings bang the war drum, and the fans respond in kind by clapping their hands and yelling, “Skol!” They also do the “Skol” chant after the team scores a touchdown.

The chant was actually inspired by the Icelandic soccer team, which has a similar celebratory clap.


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