Alex and Vikings

Capturing the Moment

In the competitive world of professional sports, UND grads Alex Dorner, ’14, and James Vigil, ’23, document the plays that make the highlights. 

While both Alex and James serve as live content producers, Alex for the National Football League covering the Minnesota Vikings and James with Major League Baseball highlighting the Minnesota Twins, their journeys to this highly sought-after field are quite different. 

Alex Takes the Field

Alex is starting his eighth season of capturing and creating Vikings content for the NFL. He found the job only after a long interview process with the Minnesota Vikings didn’t result in an offer. The team recommended he pursue a newly created NFL job. “I still really wanted to work in pro sports, so I applied for the NFL position.”

Alex’s photos and videos have been shared on the social media channels of the NFL and its players, ESPN, and CBS Sports, among others. Collaborating with players is Alex’s favorite part of the job.

“I’ve worked a lot of player events such as Justin Jefferson’s Mini-Camp, the Kirk Cousins QB Clinic, charity events with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, visiting cancer patients with Alexander Mattison, and everything in between,” he said. “It’s incredibly rewarding to contribute to these events and causes that hold a lot of meaning for the players.”

Alex Dorner

Alex Dorner, '14

Alex became interested in photography when he landed a job in Austin, Texas, and picked up a camera to explore his new city. His hobby evolved; he learned more advanced forms of photography and videography, and eventually secured jobs in the field. In addition to his more seasonal job with the NFL, Alex is a full-time social media strategist for the University of Minnesota. His team manages the University’s main social media accounts and advises campus-wide social strategy.

As he earned his business degree, Alex gained critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, which he said are essential to his job. “Whether collaborating with players, capturing captivating moments during games, or creating content for various platforms, the lessons and experiences gained from my sports business studies have undoubtedly contributed to my success in this fast-paced field.”

James Steps Up to the Plate

James Vigil works full time as social media manager for Warroad Clothing Co., owned by UND grad and Washington Capitals star T.J. Oshie, ’08. His “bonus” job with the MLB as a live content producer for the Twins is brand new.

“It’s super cool to be a part of MLB,” said James, who had never covered baseball, but grew up playing it. “It is my favorite sport,” he said, “so I know where to look for the plays.”

James, a communication major, brings his mostly self-taught camera skills to the MLB and Oshie’s company, which he practiced as an employee of UND Insider, the University’s media department. “UND is Division I in sports, but it’s a relatively small school in a small town so there’s just a goldmine of opportunity.” 

James Vigil

James Vigil, '23 

UND has the best arena in college hockey, James said, but big crowds make it difficult for the media to snag a spot close to the action. “Last fall, there was a game at the Ralph that was more packed than usual. Most of the spots to shoot video from were taken. I’m afraid of heights, but the catwalk in the rafters was the only area I could think of that was still available, so I had to quickly overcome my fear.”

The vantage point worked out well. “The angle of a Hunter Johannes goal from up there went viral. I shot from the catwalk every game I covered after that.”

James said that video played a significant role in getting him noticed by the MLB. “I’m so grateful I overcame my fear that night.”

James’ work at UND led to a freelance gig with Warroad, which turned into his full-time job. He still enjoys shooting hockey videos, often traveling to Washington, D.C., to create content featuring Oshie. 

“I’ve met some great people and had some great experiences at Warroad,” James said. “Being able to work with professional hockey players, and do shoots with Oshie has been awesome.”