MANKATO, Minn. – The mourning Minnesota Vikings resumed practice Thursday, a day after training camp shut down because of the heat-related death of offensive tackle Korey Stringer.
Fans lined up along the team's practice field and clapped as the players filed past for the morning session. Offensive linemen gathered in a tight circle on the field and held hands for a prayer led by line coach Mike Tice.
Neither players nor coaches talked to the media before the workout. The temperature was in the 70s, 20 degrees lower than Tuesday, when the heat index reached into the 100s.
Stringer, a 335-pound Pro Bowl right tackle, collapsed following an intense practice in stifling heat and humidity Tuesday morning and died 15 hours later at a hospital.
"We know we have to play football. But that's not on our mind right now," said Vikings coach Dennis Green. "We have lost a 27-year-old man and we are going to miss him."
The death prompted the NFL to take a closer look at its procedures for preventing heat strokes during the grind of summer training camps, when the heat index often gets into triple figures.
"When this happens, it should cause everybody to wake up," Cleveland Browns president Carmen Policy said.
The hospital and team officials said they couldn't release medical details without permission from Stringer's family. A brief statement from Vikings camp doctor David Knowles said Stringer's vital organs were damaged, and he developed a bleeding disorder, kidney failure and then heart failure.
Since Stringer also had to leave Monday's afternoon workout early, exhausted from the heat, his death raised questions about whether he should have been practicing and the circumstances that led to his condition.
It also demonstrates the macho nature of the NFL.
"The old school, way back when I was playing, dictated that tough guys don't drink water," said Baltimore coach Brian Billick, who coached Stringer as offensive coordinator in Minnesota.
"Yeah, it was good and tough, but it [was] extremely stupid. We've since learned that, obviously," Billick said.
Stringer's death came six days after 18-year-old University of Florida freshman Eraste Autin died. Days earlier, Autin had collapsed of heat stroke following a workout. Figures from the University of North Carolina show that 18 high school or college players have died of heat-related causes since 1995.
But no one had ever died of heat stroke in the NFL, where trainers, doctors and the latest medical equipment are on hand and trainers constantly tell players to fill up on water and sports drinks.
"We try to work against it so it doesn't happen, but it can happen to anybody, anywhere -- high school, college and professional athletes, a construction worker, a guy working outside. Anybody," said Joe Juraszek, strength and conditioning coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
How much will change as the result of Stringer's death? Many teams have players weigh in when they begin practice and again after they finish. If they've lost more than four or five pounds, they often are rehydrated.
But coaches acknowledge that they like hot weather.
"You need the heat to get into condition," Billick said. "When it gets hot and humid, you have big guys who can lose 20 to 30 pounds in a single day, and that's all dehydration."