The List of Vikings Tragedies Is Just Too Long

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They’re too frequent.

The List of Vikings Tragedies Is Just Too Long

Tragedies have beset the Minnesota Vikings in the last 23 years, notably in 2001 and continuing through July 6th, 2024. The Vikings community was rocked by the death of rookie cornerback Khyree Jackson, 24, on Saturday, the most recent sorrow in a series of about five this millennium.

The Vikings’ main social media account confirmed the tragedy on Saturday morning, “We are devastated by the news of Khyree Jackson’s death following an overnight car accident. Our thoughts are with Khyree’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, as well as all the victims of this tragic accident.”

Jackson will be remembered for his infectious personality, competitive spirit, one-of-a-kind swagger, and sadly, his youth.

He’s the latest — hopefully the last — on a list that is too long.

Korey Stringer

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Stringer died of complications from heat stroke in Mankato, Minnesota, on August 1st, 2001. When the author of this article was 14 years old, he worked as a grocery bagger at a market called Driskill’s in Eden Prairie, where Stringer visited frequently. Stringer would chat with store employees like he was their best friend, ranging topics from football to music to movies.

The guy was a ginormous, happy-go-lucky radiance.

He was 27.

Tony Sparano

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Sparano worked in collegiate and professional football for over 30 years, and he passed away on July 22, 2018, from heart disease in Eden Prairie. He led Minnesota’s offensive line for two seasons in 2016 and 2017, on deck for Year No.3 before his passing.

Prior to that, Sparano notably served as head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008 to 2011.

He was 56.

Tarvaris Jackson

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Jackson became a Viking in 2006, a 2nd-Round pick from Alabama State. He saw action in 36 games with the purple team and 59 in the NFL, on the whole.

He died in an Alabama car accident on April 12th, 2020, and was a quarterbacks coach at the Tennessee State University at the time.

He was 36.

Jeff Gladney

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Minnesota found Gladney in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, and he played 16 games for the team before being released for a legal infraction of which he was later found innocent.

Two months after the acquittal, Gladney and a companion, Mercedes Palacios, died in a car accident on May 30th, 2022, in Texas. He had signed with the Arizona Cardinals just days before.

He was 25.

Khyree Jackson

Oregon cornerback Khyree Jackson hauls in a pass during Oregon Pro Day Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at the Moshofsky Center in Eugene, Ore. © Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Jackson’s adult life was just getting started. The Vikings selected him in Round 4 of April’s draft, 71 days before his death.

On a phone call with Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah during the draft, Jackson said, “You got the best corner, by far. I’m gonna show you, day one.”

He was 24.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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