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Minnesota Labor Laws Favorable to the Vikings

From Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings could be liable for Korey Stringer’s death only if they were found guilty of negligence or having inflicted intentional harm, according to Minnesota law.

Minnesota attorneys with experience in labor and employee law said the state’s worker compensation laws protect workers from employers who might use their wealth to deny benefits. However, the laws also protect employers from having to pay against potential earnings unless negligence can be proved.

“It’s a pretty high standard to meet,” said Andy Tanick, a Minneapolis attorney who specializes in labor and employment law.

Stringer died Wednesday, the first player in NFL history to die from heatstroke. Heatstroke has killed 19 football players since 1995, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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The state office of Occupational Safety and Health began an investigation into Stringer’s death--which is routine for any job-related death--by sending two investigators Wednesday to the Vikings’ training camp in Mankato, Minn. The investigation is expected to last more than a month, according to OSHA spokesman James Honerman.

A surviving spouse with a child can receive more than two-thirds of the employee’s pay, but the amount is capped. Stringer’s widow, Kelci, who has a 3-year-old son, will receive $750 a week for about the next 30 years and the state will pay $15,000 toward burial costs.

Kelci Stringer also will receive up to $725,000 of Korey Stringer’s salary, plus a severance payment and benefits from life insurance, annuities, 401(k) and the NFL Players Assn. retirement fund.

Terry Glenn will challenge his four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, saying he never failed a drug test.

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The suspension, announced Friday, was for the New England receiver’s failure to communicate with officials overseeing the NFL’s substance-abuse program, said James Gould, Glenn’s agent.

Gould said a league official apparently left a phone message with Glenn in April notifying him of a test date. Gould said Glenn claims he never received the message, then took and passed a drug test three days later.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said failure to “cooperate with the program” can lead to suspension.

In exhibition games:

Paul Edinger kicked a 48-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in overtime as the Chicago Bears opened the exhibition season with 16-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago. . . . Chris Howard’s eight-yard touchdown run with 2:52 left broke a tie score and gave the Oakland Raiders a 21-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland.

The New Orleans Saints signed Deuce McAllister, their top pick in this year’s draft, to a six-year contract. . . . Detroit Lion receiver Herman Moore is expected back for the season opener Sept. 9 at Green Bay after separating his left shoulder. . . . Receiver Isaac Bruce left the St. Louis Ram training camp after learning that a brother died in Bruce’s hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. It was not immediately known which of his brothers had died. . . . Tendinitis kept Jeff George’s strong arm silent again, wiping out virtually the entire first week of training camp for the Washington Redskin starting quarterback. . . . Tampa Bay quarterback Shaun King strained his right shoulder, but is expected to be ready when the Buccaneers return to practice Monday. . . . Terrell Davis, limited to nine games for the Denver Broncos the past two seasons, sat out most of practice after feeling a twinge in his right hamstring.


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