Tragedy Strikes Lewis Kelly

Tragedy struck another member of the Vikings family Monday, as the wife and unborn child of offensive tackle Lewis Kelly died, leaving a bitterly ironic twist of fate on the franchise.

Nothing matters more than family.

While many may not view a football team as family, if you've never been in a combat situation, there are few relationships that resonate as deeply as the unity of a football team.

A year ago, the Vikings family suffered a loss when they lost one of their own in offensive tackle Korey Stringer. The family sustained another loss Monday when the wife and unborn child of offensive tackle Lewis Kelly died.

Rakiva Kelly, 24, and the unborn child of she and Lewis Kelly, died early Monday morning of complications from Rakiva's pregnancy. She was four months pregnant when she passed out Sunday night. She was rushed to a hospital, but never regained consciousness and died in the early hours of Monday morning.

Among those who were with Kelly at the time his wife passed away were coach Mike Tice and tight end Byron Chamberlain, who, along with his wife, had formed a close friendship with the Kellys.

The tragedy has once again forced the game of football to be secondary to the Vikings. While football is the occupation, the loss of family outweighs the playing of the game. Obviously, Kelly won't be available for Thursday's game with Pittsburgh -- Rakiva's funeral is Friday -- but it will leave the left tackle position in dire need of depth.

The Vikings are trying to continue business as usual under dire circumstances, so the team announced that Everett Lindsay will start in place of Kelly Thursday, with Orlando Bobo providing backup help.

It's a scary coincidence that, if rookie Bryant McKinnie had signed, Kelly was slated to play right tackle -- a position that opened in the starting lineup following the death of Korey Stringer.

All of us at VU and fans everywhere send out heartfelt condolences to Lewis Kelly. The loss of a spouse and a child is something nobody should have to go through. Cards can be sent to Kelly in care of the Vikings at 9520 Viking Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344.

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