Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Pro Athlete You Didn't Notice In Vikings Season 6

Contains mild spoilers for Vikings season 6, part 2

At first blush, Brent Burns' life might seem pretty swell. After all, he's a career athlete, playing for professional-level teams since the early 2000s. Then you realize the horror of his situation: Burns plays hockey, a game where players wear blades on the bottoms of their feet, skate across a room covered in a thick sheet of ice, and sometimes punch each other. Truly, the stuff of dystopian night terrors.

It is, therefore, no surprise that Burns partakes in some recreational escapism, which he discussed in a 2016 interview with ESPN. Asked about his free-time activities, Burns talked about reading the Game of Thrones novels, as well as contemporary political nonfiction. He went on to reveal that he'd been watching several shows, including Black Sails and Vikings. "You should be on Vikings with that beard of yours," the interviewer chimed in. "I know!" Burns replied, "And Black Sails, too. If you can help me get on one of those two shows, that would be huge: Black Sails and Vikings. I like shows that are kind of historical but also tell a story."

Now, four years later, the San Jose Sharks defenceman's very special Vikings wish has come true — even if you didn't notice it with all the pillaging and whatnot that was happening in the background.

Brent Burns nailed his Vikings role

Eagle-eyed fans of both Scandanavian warrior tribes and the NHL were tickled on December 30, 2020, when Vikings dropped the second half of its final season on Amazon Prime Video. Achieving a personal goal at least four years in the making, Burns got to make an appearance on the show as one of the titular vikings, at long last giving purpose to that magnificent beard beyond guarding his neck from errant hockey pucks.

Burns makes his debut appearance on the show in the 13th episode of season 6, entitled "The Signal." At around the 29-minute mark, the 35-year-old Canadian athlete enters with King Harald (Peter Franzén), ax in hand and hair in ponytail. He's hard to miss — at 6'5", Burns towers over his fellow performers, and his facial hair puts the rest of the cast to shame. 

His character, Skane, gets even more screen time in the next episode, "Lost Souls." He never quite reaches main character status — he's more what you'd call "side Burns" — but his intimidating presence and unmistakable dental reconfiguration are undeniable.

With the Vikings story now wrapped up with a bow, it's cool seeing the showrunners utilizing the series' final ten episodes to bring a fan into the fold. Whether the sequel series Vikings: Valhalla will feature the entire lineup of the Detroit Red Wings remains to be seen.