Ex-Vikings Kicker, Co-Inventor of Nerf Football Fred Cox Dead at 80

Fred Cox, the legendary Vikings kicker and the co-inventor of the Nerf Football died on Wednesday night at the age of 80. The icon passed away just three weeks shy of his 81st birthday. One the Vikings learned the news of Cox, who is the team's all-time leading scorer they released a statement.

"The Vikings mourn the loss of Fred Cox, one of our proudest legends and a member of the 50 Greatest Vikings. 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," the Vikings said.

Cox played for the Vikings from 1963-77 and he never missed a game in his 15 seasons in the NFL. Cox finished his career with 1,365 points, which ranks first in franchise history. He played in 210 regular season games and ranks third behind defensive end Jim Marshall (270) and Mick Tingelhoff (240).

While he was playing for the Vikings, he teamed up with John Mattox to invent the Nerf Football which gave kids a football to play with that was safe. Once he retired from the NFL, he didn't have to work again become of the money he made from Nerf.

"Fred was the ultimate team player for us," Former Vikings head coach Bud Grant said. "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."


Along with being the Vikings' all-time leading scorer, he helped the team win the NFL Championship in 1969 and he named to the Pro Bowl in 1970. His 1,365 points rank 34th in NFL history.

"He had a great brain and was a great thinker," former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton said. "Fred was a great businessman and invented the Nerf football. He was an intellect that I spent every morning with before we played a game. I spent more time with him than any other player. Fred was a special, special human being who will be missed."