Vikings Begin Post-Stringer Era

As the Vikings try to pick up the pieces following the death of Korey Stringer, he'll be as hard to replace on the field as he will be off the field.

Randy Moss summed up the bottom line of the feelings of Vikings players and coaches Wednesday when he said that, despite their grief, "the show must go on." The Vikings took their first step toward that Thursday, as the team made a shuffle of the lineup on the offensive line.

Barring an attempt to pick up an unsigned veteran later in training camp, the Vikings moved starting left guard Chris Liwienski to right tackle and reinserted Corbin Lacina to his old left guard position.

The move didn't come easily, because the Vikings had hoped Lacina could have been a top backup at four different line positions, moving wherever he was needed. But, with the team needing a starter now, Lacina is best suited for left guard and the Vikes are now left with two untested players at both tackle positions.

* A huge turnout is expected this afternoon at a public visitation for Stringer at the Washubrn-McReavy Funeral Home at the intersection of Hwy. 100 and 50th St. S. in Edina. The Vikings cut practice short Friday for a private visitation at 2 p.m. today and a service at 3 p.m. Following the service, a public visitation is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m., but officials from the funeral home said that no end time is specifically set, in the event a line of people remain at the scheduled 6 p.m. close. Stringer will be buried Monday in his home town of Warren, Ohio.
* OSHA, the government workplace safety enforcement agency, has sent two investigators to Mankato to look into the working conditions that led to Stringer's death.
* Our own Bob Lurtsema took the spotlight to tell the country about the Stringer situation. He was guest on NBC's "Today" show Thursday and reiterated that Stringer's death was a tragic accident. However, not all in the media were as considerate. On Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," tabloid journalist/host Bill O'Reilly blasted Stringer for taking diarrhetics to lose the weight this offseason -- a charge that hasn't been made publicly by anyone. He claimed Stringer was on weight loss drugs and that it likely contributed to his death. Perhaps Mr. O'Reilly should stick to doing what he does best -- muckraking politicians and continuing in his "Hard Copy" brand of journalism in the political and entertainment fields, not sports -- an area in which he is embarrassingly uninformed.
* Former Viking Brad Johnson is expected to return to practice next week for the Bucs. He's been restricted in training camp after slicing his knee -- an injury that required stitches -- while moving furniture. One would think with his contract he could afford to hire movers.

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