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Former NFL Kicker, Inventor of Nerf Fred Cox Dies at 80



Former Minnesota Vikings kicker, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, and the inventor of the Nerf football Fred Cox has died at the age of 80, according to an official team announcement.

Cox, who never missed a game over 15 seasons with the team, played for the Vikings from 1963-1977 and finished his career with 1,365 points, leading the Vikings in scoring for 11 consecutive seasons.

Cox went to four Super Bowls with the Vikings, all losing efforts, and won the final NFL Championship Game in 1969.

Cox retired ranking second all-time behind George Blanda in scoring.

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

Cox invented the Nerf football with his partner John Mattox back in 1972, while he was still playing with the Vikings, as effort to prevent leg injuries to kids.

“He had a great brain and was a great thinker,” Fran Tarkenton said, according to “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.”

Following his career, Cox became a chiropractor in Minnesota.


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Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.