Legendary Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Kapp has made public what many fans had feared. Kapp is fighting Alzheimer's disease.
Kapp led the Vikings to Super Bowl IV against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1970. The 77-year-old has struggled with memory issues for the past few years and over the weekend of Super Bowl 50 went public with his condition.
The story was broken by the San Jose Mercury News.
Kapp's longtime friend and attorney Jeffrey O'Brien tells us that Kapp is "doing great" and "he's in the early stages of the fight" against Alzheimer's. O'Brien says "Joe still has his amazing sense of humor and he was in great spirits during his weekend in Minnesota. We're hard at work on his memoir. Joe is still Joe."
It was last December when the Vikings welcomed Kapp back with a pre-game ceremony prior to their win against the Chicago Bears. Named Honorary Captain, Kapp joined players including Vikings running back Adrian Peterson at mid-field for the game's coin toss. Throughout the game, Kapp visited with hundreds of fans, friends and Vikings organization employees, including owner Mark Wilf.
Kapp has also announced that, when he dies, he'll donate his brain to head-trauma research. In his day, Kapp was known to be one of game's toughest players and Kapp endured many hard hits. Kapp says it's time to make his condition public with brain disease a growing issue and new movies like "Concussion" shedding light on player's trauma.
Despite just playing just three seasons in Minnesota, Kapp is still a popular figure in Vikings history, selling out a recent autograph session during his December visit. The former Cal quarterback and head coach is also known for his team slogan, "40-for-60," which was meant to describe 40 NFL players giving their all for 60 minutes in a game. The NFL has since used a similar tag in its youth initiative "Play 60."