Honoring a friend
Several Vikings miss practice to attend Stringer's funeral
Updated: Monday August 06, 2001 8:35 PM
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) -- Instead of a scrimmage in front of cheering fans, the Minnesota Vikings held a subdued workout on Monday while their coach led a delegation to the funeral of a fallen teammate.
About 1,000 fans, half the usual number, turned out for the session, many leaving balloons, bouquets and signs in tribute to tackle Korey Stringer outside the training facility gates.
Stringer, who died of heatstroke after practice last week, was buried Monday in Warren, Ohio.
A scheduled scrimmage against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday was canceled, as head coach Dennis Green led 14 Vikings -- including their biggest stars -- to the funeral services.
The players participated in a light practice, run by a committee of coaches, without pads on another sultry day. The temperature was 81 when practice began and soared into the 90s.
There were no outward signs of emotion or tribute on the field to Stringer, who was stricken Tuesday and died early Wednesday morning. The players on campus appeared sullen as they left a 35-minute memorial service, and reporters weren't allowed to talk to them.
Players who were missing to attend the Ohio service included quarterback Daunte Culpepper, receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss, defensive backs Robert Griffith and Orlando Thomas, linebackers Ed McDaniel and Carl Kidd, guard Dave Dixon, punter Mitch Berger and defensive tackle Fernando Smith. Offensive line coach Mike Tice, team executive vice president Mike Kelly and coordinator of medical services Fred Zamberletti also were in Ohio.
Stringer's agent, James Gould, didn't return a phone call Monday to see whether Stringer's family had decided whether to make public the results of an autopsy.
Blue Earth County medical examiner Dr. Dennis Gremel, also a pathologist at the Mankato hospital where Stringer died, conducted the autopsy. Though Minnesota law specifies that some autopsy information is public, Gremel said that since he performed the autopsy on behalf of the hospital and not as medical examiner, he isn't obligated to release the results.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune filed a motion seeking to make the results public, but a hearing Monday was postponed at the newspaper's request.
The state office of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating Stringer's death. James Honerman, an OSHA spokesman, said the investigation will continue for more than a month but that no one currently was on site because of the funeral.
"We have a lot of work to do," Honerman said. "We have a lot of questions to ask the Vikings."
The Vikings were expected to resume a normal practice schedule Tuesday. The team leaves Thursday for San Antonio, where they have a Saturday exhibition against the New Orleans Saints.