Fred Cox, former Vikings kicker, dies at age 80

Published 7:34 am Saturday, November 2, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minnesota Vikings kicker Fred Cox, one of the last of the straight-on placekickers and a standout on several conference championship teams, has died. He was 80.

Cox”s wife, Bonnie, notified the Vikings” alumni affairs office of his death. Cox had had been in hospice care at his home in Monticello northwest of the Twin Cities because of kidney and heart problems.

“My health is not good, obviously,” Cox told the Pioneer Press on Saturday in an interview at his home. “I have kidneys that don”t work and a heart that doesn”t function, but other than that I”m great.”

Email newsletter signup

Cox, who also co-created the Nerf football, scored a Minnesota-record 1,365 points in his 15 seasons, often kicking in nasty conditions because the Vikings played outdoors during his career from 1963-77. When he retired, he was second in NFL history in scoring behind George Blanda — who also played quarterback — and had made 282 field goals.

Cox was one of 11 Vikings to play in all four of the team”s Super Bowls, all defeats. He kicked in 18 postseason games.

The Vikings called Cox “one of our proudest legends, 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.”

During his playing days he also got a chiropractor”s license.

An All-Pro in 1969, Cox twice led the league in scoring while using a square-toed shoe to do his kicking. On a team with several Hall of Famers, including Fran Tarkenton, Carl Eller, Alan Page and Paul Krause, Cox also was a standout.