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Subject: Minnesota Viking Kicker Fred Cox

Dies at 80
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Date Posted: Thursday, November 21, 12:26:09pm

Kicker Fred Cox, leading scorer in Vikings history, dies at 80

Cox played in four Super Bowls during his 15 seasons in Minnesota.

Fred Cox, the leading scorer in Vikings history, died Wednesday night at age 80, the team confirmed.

Cox had 1,365 points during his 15 seasons as a kicker and, at the time of his retirement following the 1977 season, was the second leading scorer in NFL history behind George Blanda. He is now 34th.

In retirement, Cox became a chiropractor. He also is credited with inventing the prototype for the Nerf football during his playing career.

In a statement, the Vikings called Cox “a respected teammate and friend. Fred’s football career as the Vikings all-time leading scorer set the stage for a life where he went on to achieve great things in business and in his community. Fred’s positive energy, strength in his faith and passion for life will be missed.”

Third all-time in games played for the Vikings with 210, Cox was an All-Pro in 1969 and made the Pro Bowl in 1970, leading the NFL in scoring both seasons. For his career, he converted 282 of 455 field goal attempts and 519 of 539 extra points, kicking in a straight-ahead style of the day almost exclusively on turf fields and often in challenging conditions.

Cox played in 18 playoff games and four Super Bowls, losing to Kansas City, Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland.

“All the players wanted to win,” Cox said in a 1992 story in the Star Tribune. “Yet it might have been easier for the players to accept what happened than the fans.

“The fans have never been able to live with the fact that we lost four times. But the bottom line is that for any team to get there four times is an amazing feat.”

A standout at the University of Pittsburgh, Cox was drafted as a fullback in the eighth round in 1961 by the Cleveland Browns but did not play because of a back injury. He honed his placekicking skills under the legendary Lou “The Toe” Groza in Cleveland and the Vikings traded for him in training camp in 1962. He didn’t make the team that season as he was beaten out by Jim Christopherson, but did in 1963 when he joined them as a kicker and, for one season, a punter.

On the Vikings’ website, former coach Bud Grant remember Cox, one of 11 players on the roster for all four Super Bowl teams.

“Fred was the ultimate team player for us,” Grant told vikings.com. “He took part in all of our scout teams, playing running back or whatever we asked of him. He was a great asset to our team, a true credit to the team and his community. If you saw those games, he always stood right next to me on the sideline because he was such a big part of what we were doing with field position and knew the game so well.”


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Cox is the inventor of the Nerf football. He came up with the idea while still playing for the Vikings (NT).Thursday, November 21, 01:23:59pm

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