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Former Vikings Kicker and Nerf Football Inventor Fred Cox Passes Away at Age 80

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 18: A Minnesota Vikings helmet and ball on the field before the pre-season game against the Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium on August 18, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings | Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The NFL family received some sad news today. Fred Cox, a Pro Bowl kicker for the Minnesota Vikings who retired in 1977 as the league's second-leading career scorer, has died.

He was 80 years old.

He appeared in four Super Bowls, and was named by the Vikings in 2010 as one of the 50 greatest players in franchise history.

Despite his prolific performances on the field, Cox's legacy will likely be most associated with inventing the Nerf football in 1972, with the help of business partner John Mattox. The iconic foam ball was a game-changer for kids across the world, and surely helped saved more than a few windows and home furnishings from the kind of destruction a regulation ball would have wrought.

After his retirement, Cox forged a career as a chiropractor.

Truly a man of many talents, we'll surely never see another like Fred Cox ever again. Our thoughts are with his family and the Vikings community in the wake of his loss.