Vikings safety Camryn Bynum is enjoying a breakout season in his third year in Minnesota. The 25-year-old fourth-round pick out of Cal is leading all NFL non-linebackers in tackles with a career-high 112 , not to mention his career-high nine passes deflected, two interceptions (both against the San Francisco 49ers) and only career forced fumble.
Camryn Bynum: 515 coverage snaps without allowing a TD this season 🤯 pic.twitter.com/tb6huXKrNY
— PFF MIN Vikings (@PFF_Vikings) December 14, 2023
Thanks in part to Bynum’s efforts, Minnesota remains in the thick of the NFC wild-card playoff picture despite losing starting quarterback Kirk Cousins for the season due to a torn ACL on Oct. 29. The Vikings are 7-7 and would be the No. 6 seed in the playoffs if the season were to end today, but three other NFC teams are also 7-7 and two are 6-8.
Bynum’s performance this year may land him his first Pro Bowl selection, but as the calendar year winds down, he’s already counting 2023 as a resounding success for reasons far beyond the football field.
While in Dubai in March 2022, Bynum met a woman who immediately caught his eye: Lalaine, a dancer from the Philippines. Camryn, who also has Filipino ancestry, and Lalaine began dating long-distance. In March 2023, the couple was married in a ceremony in the Philippines that featured a time for intentional prayer and a number of worship songs.
The connection between the two came easy. However, getting a visa approved to allow Lalaine to move to the United States was anything but. After a second visa denial in September, Camryn hatched a plan to ask for help in his next national media interview. The couple would often pray together, always asking God to give Camryn the best game of his life so that he’d have the platform to make his request known.
God answered the Bynums’ prayer in a big way on Oct. 23 against the 49ers on “Monday Night Football,” when Camryn recorded both of his interceptions this season. The second one sealed a much-needed victory.
Camryn Bynum with his SECOND interception of the night to seal the win for the Vikings 😱pic.twitter.com/YBsEWBR1WE
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 24, 2023
In an on-field interview with the NFL Network following his heroics, Camryn took the time not only to ask for help with Lalaine’s visa but also to give glory to his Heavenly Father.
“First of all, all glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he said. “… I’m not out here for my glory; it’s all for God and all for the people back at home in the States and in the Philippines.”
He continued in the next question: “[My wife is] in the Philippines working on her visa. It’s been getting denied, so if anybody out there can help with the visa process, I’d greatly appreciate it.”
Camryn Bynum always plays for his family’s country, the Philippines. His wife is currently stuck there because of visa issues.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 24, 2023
Camryn’s petition got the attention of a couple of officials in the United States government, and at long last Lalaine got approved for a visa that allows her to stay in the U.S. for 10 years. Three weeks after the approval, Lalaine arrived on U.S. soil, and shortly after that, she saw her husband play in-person for the first time.
Camryn is passionate about supporting the people of the Philippines, and for him, it all begins with Christ. He and his family have launched the Bynum Faith Foundation, “formed with love and by the grace of God,” to help people both locally and internationally.
“The mission was to serve God first and foremost,” Camryn said in regard to wearing custom cleats featuring his foundation as part of the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” initiative. “… Our faith is our foundation, and that’s where we want to start with any type of serving. That’s the No. 1 thing.”
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“My main thing is really to go out there and help,” he told ABS-CBN.com this past July. “While we do it, we share God’s words, share the Gospel, and just help bring our love and resources from the States to the Philippines.”
With Lalaine watching from the stands and an entire nation watching from halfway around the globe, Camryn hopes to continue to wave the Filipino flag, as he so often does, into the playoffs.
Three regular-season games remain for Camryn and his Vikings, two of them against the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions and one against the Green Bay Packers. Minnesota will host Detroit (10-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, then host Green Bay (6-8) in Week 17 before wrapping things up on the road against the Lions.
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