If the opening arguments in the non-existent court of public opinion mean anything, the battle between the Vikings and the family of Korey Stringer is going to be a long battle with a lot of divisive influences.
After attorneys for Kelci Stringer announced Monday that defendants were being served with court papers, the Vikings finally ended their long silence on the matter Tuesday, including new head coach Mike Tice.
The Vikings submitted a 12-page report of its findings to the NFL, a report that was also distributed to the media. In the report, the Vikings say Stringer showed "amazingly few" signs of a player in physical distress until his problems had progressed too far.
Tice, who is a named defendant in the suit since he was Stringer's position coach at the time, vehemently denied allegations that he did nothing, mocked Stringer with a photo of him doubled over in exhaustion from the previous day's practice and called him a "big baby." In a statement, Tice said the allegations made about him are "simply untrue" and that the Vikings loved Stringer very much.
Executive Vice President Mike Kelly became the point man for the discussion of the matter, calling the allegations in the suit "99.9 percent lies" and affirming the fact that the Vikings would have done nothing to intentionally put Stringer in harm's way.
That last statement will be the crux of the legal battle to ensue. In Minnesota, worker's compensation cases and lawsuits are very difficult to win by individuals because of roadblocks in place to prevent suing an employer. Among these hurdles will be attempting to prove that the Vikings intentionally or willingly allowed Stringer's life to be placed in jeopardy -- such a high standard of proof that the case has little to no chance of success.
VU has been told by more than one Vikings insider that the team has no intention at this point to attempt to settle the lawsuit out of court, because, as it stands, it has no merit. But, anyone familiar with the legal system knows that juries do strange things sometimes and nothing can be assumed.
This story won't go away any time soon and VU will be with you every step of the way.
* In other news, lost in the shuffle, the stadium task force of the State Legislature of Minnesota has proposed two different stadiums for the Vikings/Gophers football operations and the Minnesota Twins.
It seems it is the threatened contraction of the Twins that has got the ball rolling and, while it seems absurd to many that three teams sharing approximately 100 dates over the course of a year couldn't share one state-of-the-art multipurpose facility, the decision to build two stadiums is being passed along to the Legislature, with non-owner revenue being recommended to come from lottery scratch games or a pair of privately-owned casinos -- which could come under fire from several Native American casinos that operate in Minnesota. This story, like the Stringer saga, is sure to drag on for months at the very least.
Vikings Respond to Stringer Family Lawsuit
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