The widow of former Vikings tackle Korey Stringer won a key legal battle Monday when a judge ordered a jury trial in the family's lawsuit against equipment manufacturer Riddell.
As we near the eighth anniversary of the death of the Vikings offensive tackle Korey Stringer, who died after collapsing from dehydration during a training camp practice in 2001, his family won a significant court decision in their pursuit of someone to take responsibility.
Stringer's widow, Kelci, won a legal battle that a spokesman for the Stringer family called "landmark," as a federal court judge ruled that the company that makes helmets for the NFL must go to trial to defend itself against charges that the helmet and shoulder pads Stringer wore may have contributed to him dying from heatstroke.
U.S. District Court Judge John D. Holschuh ordered a jury trial for Nov. 2 between the Stringer estate and Riddell, Inc. In his ruling, Judge Holschuh concluded that Riddell had a responsibility to warn players like Stringer that its equipment could contribute to heat stroke in extremely hot conditions.
Stringer collapsed after an afternoon practice session July 31, 2001 and died the following morning in Mankato. Kelci Stringer has settled claims against the doctor who treated her husband as well as the NFL. The case against Riddell is likely the last legal action the family is going to take, according to family spokesman James Gould.
In his ruling, Judge Holschuh concluded that it was "reasonably foreseeable" that wearing the helmet and shoulder pads in extremely hot and humid conditions might cause a player to suffer from heatstroke, adding that Riddell "owed Stringer a duty to warn."
The ruling doesn't require Riddell to immediately place warning labels on its equipment, but it is likely to result in the change being made anyway – regardless of the outcome of the November trial.
The deadline rumor mill has begun again concerning Brett Favre, but this time it may have more validity. There were many reasons to believe that, if the Vikings were to sign Favre, it would likely happen this week. However, given the most recent Favre statements, according to what an unnamed source told ESPN, it is likely not to happen until next week at the earliest. The reports claim that the Vikings have imposed a deadline before the start of training camp, which makes sense. It would seem that, given the team has a starting QB in Tarvaris Jackson and traded for veteran Sage Rosenfels, that if Favre was to return to the NFL with the Vikings, they would have to know before the other players begin their work at training camp.
The Vikings launched a new-look website Monday. It can be viewed at www.vikings.com.
Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network reported that rumors are circulating that Jackson might be seeking a way out of Minnesota. It's hard to imagine what the Vikings would get for Jackson, but it likely would have to be considerably lower than the second-round pick used to draft him.
Former Viking wide receiver Koren Robinson is staying in shape and waiting for an NFL team to call. He was picked up by Seattle last year and played 12 games with the Seahawks, who were ravaged with injuries at the position all season long.
Former Viking Tyler Thigpen will open the season as the No. 2 quarterback for the Chiefs behind free-agent signee Mat Cassel. The team has announced that former starter Brodie Croyle will be the third QB.
There have been some rumors that the Vikings might have an interest in former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison, who remains unsigned. But the surprise announcement that Derrick Mason of the Baltimore Ravens was retiring has the rumor mill buzzing in Maryland that the Ravens will be in pursuit of Harrison pretty quickly as they look for a veteran presence at the wide receiver spot that Mason provided for the last few years.
From the Strange But True Raiders File comes this – the always-wacky Raiders released sixth-round rookie DE Stryker Sulak Monday without him not only not signing with the team, but, according to his agent, having no contract negotiations. As far as most scouts know, Sulak has never had a legal problem or injury that would result in him having ties with the team severed.