After 17 years, a new tree was planted at a memorial in Mankato, Minnesota for former Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer who tragically passed away.
In 1995, the Minnesota Vikings used a first round pick on an offensive tackle out of Ohio State who looked to have the potential to dominate at the NFL level. That individual was named Korey Stringer.
Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 346 pounds, Stringer lived up to the hype early on, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2000 and starting 91 of his 93 games played over the course of his 6 seasons in Minnesota.
However, tragedy struck on August 1, 2001 when Stringer passed away from heat stroke complications during the team’s training camp in Mankato, Minnesota at the age of 27.
The Vikings have since retired his jersey number and entered Stringer into the team’s Ring of Honor, but there was another way to memorialize the right tackle in Mankato, Minnesota: by planting a tree in his honor in 2001 and putting a plaque near camp.
KARE 11 shared a video on their website showing the site of the Stringer memorial, explaining that a new tree has been planted to remember the fallen offensive lineman lovingly referred to as “Big K”.
The previous tree was memorialized by former Vikings head coach Dennis Green and grew for over a decade near the Gage Towers dormitory on the Minnesota State – Mankato campus.
“We can plant this tree, and we can plant the plaque, but only God will have that tree grow,” head coach Dennis Green said on Aug. 14, 2001. “And I think that symbolizes how we feel about Korey Stringer.”
The tree grew there for over a decade until Gage Towers were demolished and the memorial was moved across the street. While the tree was moved as well, it survived for only two years before planting the new tree at the site.
Hopefully, this tree will grow much like the one at the site of the previous memorial near the dormitory and continue to honor the legacy of Korey Stringer, a member of the Minnesota Vikings who fans will never forget.