The all-time leading scorer in Minnesota Vikings history has died, as the team confirmed Thursday that Fred Cox has passed away at the age of 80.
Cox kicked for the Vikings for 15 seasons, 1963-1977, scoring a franchise record 1,365 points. The next closest on the franchise scoring chart is Cris Carter with 670 points.
Cox is also the inventor of the famous NERF football. This from Vikings.com:
"The NERF football became a reality in 1972, shortly after John Mattox introduced himself to Cox and solicited his opinion on the idea of a movable goal post that kids could position in their backyard to practice kicking. When told by Mattox that he intended to use a heavy ball so kids wouldn’t kick it out of their yard, Cox suggested a lighter alternative, something made of foam, to prevent, as he says, “a bunch of sore-legged kids.”
"Inspired by the idea, the duo had a mold made of a full-sized football and employed an injection molder in the Twin Cities region to produce a prototype of the lightweight ball. The process resulted in a thick-skinned football that was denser than the existing round NERF balls intended for indoor play that entered the marketplace in 1970."
Cox, who would've turned 81 on Dec. 11, led the NFL in made field goals three times (1965, 1969, 1970) and was named a First Team All-Pro in 1969 and a Pro Bowler in 1970. His 282 career field goals ranks 34th in NFL history.