Before the likes of Adam Thielen and Brandon Zylstra took the all-Minnesota route to playing in the NFL, there was Keith Nord.
Nord grew up in Minnetonka, played his college football at St. Cloud State University and then earned his way to a roster spot with the Vikings in 1979.
Sadly, Nord died Wednesday morning after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer.
"Heaven gained a pretty amazing man," Nord's wife, Jenne, posted on his CaringBridge page. "Hubby passed early this morning with his family surrounding him. The cancer really never gave him a shot and the pain was just too much. We all feel blessed to have had such a wonderful man as our husband, dad, son, brother, friend, teammate, coach, and mentor."
Nord spent seven years with the Vikings before being released in 1985, having served as the special teams captain in 1983 and racking up 285 career tackles and one kick return for a touchdown, according to the Vikings.
After his playing career he turned to the business world where he was a motivational speaker and mentor to many.