Former Minnesota Vikings beat writer, Don Banks, died Sunday in his hotel room in Canton, Ohio, where he was covering the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies.
Banks, 57, covered the NFL for nearly four decades, spending time as a Vikings beat reporter for both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press.
He was recently hired to cover the NFL for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, with his first column being published by the newspaper over the weekend.
A cause of death has not been announced, but Banks' wife told the Review-Journal that he died in his sleep and "went very peacefully."
Friend and longtime colleague at Sports Illustrated, Peter King, wrote Banks' obituary late Sunday night while sitting at an airport bar. Here it is.
"Don Banks, one of the leading NFL reporters in the country, died suddenly on Sunday in Canton, Ohio. He was in Canton to cover the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies over the weekend, and his first story in his new job, as NFL columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was published in Sunday’s editions.
"Banks, 56, had a 36-year career in sportswriting, beginning when he covered prep sports as an intern in the Tampa Bay area for the St. Petersburg Times. He moved on to cover the Buccaneers for the Times, before moving to Minnesota to cover pro football for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and later the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It was there that Banks caught the eye of editors at Sports Illustrated. In 2000, he was hired as NFL columnist for the Sports Illustrated website, SI.com.
"Banks was an NFL lifer. At SI, his Snap Judgments column on Sunday evenings became appointment reading for NFL fans. After an illustrious career at SI ended in 2016, Banks moved on to write about the league for NFL.com, Bleacher Report, Patriots.com and The Athletic. That led to the editors at the Review-Journal, needing a respected national presence to cover the NFL with the Raiders moving to Nevada in 2020, conducting a one-candidate job search. They hired Banks as their NFL correspondent. He started last Thursday, and his first story appeared on the paper’s website just hours before he died.
"He was known for his absolute impartiality, covering the league at a time when he both lampooned and praised Roger Goodell, the commissioner who has been under fire for much of the last decade."