Training camp opened with silencePublished 9:17am Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Column: Second Thoughts
MANKATO — Eager to take the field together for the first time this season, Vikings players and coaches shelved their enthusiasm Monday to remember a lost member of the family.
Before training camp officially kicked off at 3 p.m., a moment of silence was on the field next to the No. 77 painted in the grass. Ten years ago Monday, Vikings Pro Bowler Korey Stringer died from complications brought on by heat stroke at training camp on the same field.
“It’s a hard day for everybody,” Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said in a press conference. “We just wanted our players to take a moment to remember Korey.”
Frazier, who was a defensive backs coach with the Philadelphia Eagles at the time of Stringer’s death in 2001, called the offensive tackle “affable and loved by so many.” He died at age 27.
Fullback Jim Kleinsasser, who has played his entire 13-year career in Minnesota, is the Vikings’ last remaining teammate of Stringer’s. Frazier said Kleinsasser talked to the team and explained to them what Stringer meant as a teammate, what he meant to his friends and family and to the Vikings organization.
“It was a sober moment for our team as Jim explained who Korey was, what type of player he was and more so the person,” Frazier said. “Everyone misses him. (We) wished he could come out and watch us practice today but in a way I feel like he was there today. Just having his number out there on the field, I feel he lives on in a lot of ways through the pride that our players have and a lot of people miss him.”
Frazier looks back on Randy Moss’s career
One of the most electrifying and controversial players in Vikings history, Randy Moss, retired Monday after a 13-year NFL career.
When asked about Moss, Frazier called him “The Michael Jordan of offense” and a future Hall of Famer.
Frazier was the Vikings’ defensive coordinator during Moss’s brief four-game stint with the team in 2010. Frazier said he enjoyed working with the seven-time Pro Bowler, who ranks second in Vikings history in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
“We had a good relationship,” Frazier said. “One thing I appreciated about him is he’s a guy who’s a tremendous historian when it comes to football. He could be talking to me about when I played and telling me things that I had kind of forgotten but he knew. I’m proud I got a chance to know him.”
Andrew Dyrdal’s column appears weekly in the Tribune.