Stringer Anniversary Hits Team

As of this writing, it's almost exactly a year since the horrible word spread that Korey Stringer was dead. A year later, the Vikings are still dealing with the loss of one of their favorite sons.

When asked about Korey Stringer Wednesday, a year after his last practice, Mike Tice and Randy Moss didn't want to talk about it. Other players who did speak did so reluctantly, remembering a teammate and friend who's life tragically ended a year ago today.

The year that has transpired since has witnessed many changes with the team since a year ago, when stoic Dennis Green broke down in tears at an early-morning press conference, Randy Moss collapsed at the podium and Cris Carter fought back tears as best he could.

Training camp shut down at that point and many believe so did the Vikings season. A year later, the Vikings are still trying to pick up the pieces, but Stringer remains in their hearts and their minds.

"(Today) will be tough to think about that day (a year ago) and have to recount the events of the day," Matt Birk told VU, but added that he and many of his teammates prefer to remember the happier memories of Big K. "You just think about the good times and be thankful that your path crossed with a guy like that."

It's become increasingly more difficult to remember the good times, since papers like USA Today and the Los Angeles Times have done investigative pieces that have brought many people who were guiltless under scrutiny concerning the events surrounding his death. In the most recent edition of Sports Illustrated (July 29 issue with John Madden on the cover), the magazine runs a similar one-year anniversary story, along with a two-page photo taken of Stringer laying on the field which is believed to be the last photo taken of him alive.

In the days after his death, the photo, which was in the possession of VU but never published out of common human decency, was said to be worth as much as $10,000, much in the same way photos of a dying Bob Hope or Ronald Reagan surface every now and then in supermarket tabloids. A year later, the photo now appears in SI, which apparently has lowered its standards to those of the National Enquirer and the paparazzi that serve as celebrity bottom feeders.

While the tragedy will likely never be forgotten by anyone who was touched by Stringer, as hard as it may be to accept, life does go on and the Vikings are doing their best to not make today a time for tears, but a time for reflection on the impact Stringer made on so many lives.

THURSDAY NOTES
* McKinnie Holdout Watch: Day Six -- Red McCombs has put in his two cents worth on the Bryant McKinnie holdout, saying that McKinnie needs to sign soon and that his value is dropping every day he remains out of camp. While the two sides continue to talk, neither side is indicating that progress has been made.
* D'Wayne Bates continues to impress coaches and, with Derrick Alexander limited in practice with injuries, WR coach Charlie Baggett told VU that, as of now, it's Bates job and Alexander will have to beat him out of the starting spot.
* In a surprise move, Wednesday's practice ended two hours early when Tice had the sprinklers turned on the practice field with the team preparing for running sprints. Tice ended practice and told the wet players to sign autographs for fans.
* Lewis Kelly returned to practice after being limited with a quadriceps injury that had kept him out of full practices since the start of camp.
* Former Viking Stalin Colinet had successful arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and is expected to be out until the start of the regular season.

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