Tragedy struck the Minnesota Vikings in the summer of 2001, when Offensive Lineman Korey Stringer died of heat stroke in training camp in Mankato, Minnesota. Although Minnesota has a reputation for cold weather, in late July and early August it can be brutally hot.
The 2001 season started off with a 24–13 home loss to the Carolina Panthers (This would be Carolina's only win of the season; they finished 1–15). Over the next sixteen weeks, wins for Minnesota were few and far between. They did not win on the road at all during this season. Some season highlights included a 35–13 win over the rival Green Bay Packers in week six, and a week ten victory over the Giants in which Randy Moss pulled in 10 receptions for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns leading to a 28–16 victory. But despite having a 12th ranked offense, their defense was in the bottom five, and the Vikings finished 5–11.
After the disappointing season, the Vikings bought out the contract of Dennis Green, who had become a polarizing force in the Viking fan base despite his successful coaching tenure with the team. Mike Tice coached the final game of 2001, losing to the Ravens.