Longtime Vikings kicker Fred Cox dead at 80

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The Vikings announced on Thursday that the franchise’s all-time leading scorer Fred Cox has died at the age of 80.

Cox kicked for the Vikings from 1963 to 1977 and scored 1,365 points over the course of his time with the team. That ranks 34th in NFL history in addition to topping the Vikings’ record book. He added 71 more points in 18 postseason appearances, including four trips to the Super Bowl.

Former Vikings head coach Bud Grant noted that Cox did more to help the Vikings than just kick the ball.

“Fred was the ultimate team player for us,” Grant said. “He took part in all of our scout teams, playing running back or whatever we asked of him. He was a great asset to our team, a true credit to the team and his community. If you saw those games, he always stood right next to me on the sideline because he was such a big part of what we were doing with field position and knew the game so well.”

While Cox was still playing, he found a side business that wound up working out for him. He worked with a partner to invent a foam football that Parker Brothers bought and renamed a NERF football. The ball is a staple of American households and which provided a steady income for Cox during and after his playing days.

Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

36 responses to “Longtime Vikings kicker Fred Cox dead at 80

  1. He invented the NERF Football? I think you guys buried the lede here. The NERF football has touched probably tens of millions of households, and hundreds of millions lives. Condolences to the family, and thank you for a staple toy of childhood.

  2. I remember watching this guy many times at the Met and at Lambeau (and likely Milwaukee.) If I’m remembering correctly, he was a straight-line kicker…….and a very good one.

  3. TY for the Nerf. Growing up in a city and playing in the street, Nerf was a necessity. People would chase and threaten you if hit their cars with the Duke.

  4. Aw man. He was a great kicker for that time. Was a great Christian man. Godspeed Mr. Cox. You will be missed.

  5. Life time Packer fan who wasn’t even a little sad to see Cox hang ’em up.
    Love to hate him for a long time.

  6. It was a cold October day Giants and Vikings at the old Met, when you could get close to players. So waiting for the players to come out and here come this short guy in a polyester suit with glasses on. He stopped right behind Carl Eller and Alan Page, started talking to my dad and his friend. I was so busy trying to get autographs. It was a great day got a Takenton, Sammie White, Stu Voight autogrpahs. Shooks hands with Matt Blair, got Chock Foremans autograph. So I go up to my dad after about 20 minutes and asked him who was he tlaking to an old friend from school …….he laughed and said didn’t’ you know that was Freddie Cox. I was like no didn’t recognize him with the glasses on. It was one of the greatest day ever for a kid, I’ll never forget it.

    RIP Mr Cox

  7. It was a cold October day Giants and Vikings at the old Met, when you could get close to players. So waiting for the players to come out and here come this short guy in a polyester suit with glasses on. He stopped right behind Carl Eller and Alan Page, started talking to my dad and his friend. I was so busy trying to get autographs. It was a great day got a Takenton, Sammie White, Stu Voight autogrpahs. Shook hands with Matt Blair and another autograph, got Chuck Foremans autograph.

    So I go up to my dad after about 20 minutes and asked him who was he talking to an old friend from school …….he laughed and said didn’t’ you know that was Freddie Cox. I was like no didn’t recognize him with the glasses on. It was one of the greatest day ever for a kid, I’ll never forget it. But felt so bad when I looked right at Mr. Cox and didn’t recognize him.

    RIP Mr Cox

  8. My condolences to Fred Cox’s family & friends. I loved watching him knock it through for the Vikings. Yes, he was a straight line kicker that was very accurate. I never knew that about the Nerf football, what a great story & what a great idea that has been. Skol Vikings!

  9. jonathankrobinson424 says:

    THE BEST Vikings kicker EVER!!!
    ———————————————-

    That would be Ryan Longwell. But I have a special place in my heart for Daniel Carlson and Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh.

  10. Classic football player who didn’t look anything like a football player – more like the Westinghouse repair man. Not a long-range kicker but very reliable in the days before the soccer-style PK. RIP Fred.

  11. I doubt there many young boys in that era who didn’t set the ball on a tee 10 yards from the clothes lines (sure looked longer than 10 yards back then) and kicked field goals, all the while pretending to be Fred Cox. I know that was me…and I am a Packers fan by birthright.

    It’s tough watching your heros die. Condolences to the family…the organization … and fans of Fred Cox. A great kicker.

  12. Zimmer would have released him.

    That being said he was a major contributor to the winning tradition of the early year Vikings. RIP.

  13. I believe Paul Krause is the holder in that picture. These are the guys who were playing when I started loving football, the old Black and Blue division! BTW, to the earlier poster who had Bud Grant prematurely gone, I believe Mr. Grant is still alive and well, he was quoted in the article. Show some respect!

  14. God how I miss the good old days when men were men. Fred Cox was one of them, on/off the field. RIP Fred Cox.

  15. aypeeswhippingstick says:
    November 21, 2019 at 3:49 pm
    RIP Mr. Cox and coach Grant!

    Coach Grant is still alive!

    It is amazing how many Viking players from the 60s and 70s played double-digit Seasons with the team.

    RIP Fred Cox!

  16. Ya know I see everyone even Packers fan expressing their condolences, man that’s what this game is all about. Honoring the greats no matter what team. The reason why I live this game so much. Tip o the hat to all the non Vikings fans, that’s class man!

  17. He was a class act. Too bad some trolls need to say something stupid. RIP Fred Cox I looked up to you as a kid

  18. I too remember Mr. Cox, one Hell of a kicker.
    I wasn’t aware he helped develop the Nerf football, nothing like playing with a soaking wet sponge in the rain, but Man was it fun!

  19. RIP Fred, and condolences to his family.

    I’m not old enough to have seen Cox play in his early years, which is when he was at his best. I do remember his last game, the 1977 NFC Championship game, when he provided the only points the Vikings scored that day.

    Cox was steady and reliable, like so many other Vikings during the first decade of Bud Grant’s tenure. He will remain as leading scorer in Viking history for decades to come. Thanks for the memories, Fred.

  20. heydouglass says:
    November 21, 2019 at 9:26 pm
    I believe Paul Krause is the holder in that picture.

    BTW, to the earlier poster who had Bud Grant prematurely gone, I believe Mr. Grant is still alive and well, he was quoted in the article. Show some respect!

    ============================

    #22 Would have been Paul Krause.

    As for that person that posted about Bud Grant, he (or she) has been posting that troll drivel, under his or her dozens of accounts for years now.

  21. Sorry to hear that he passed away.

    I will admit to enjoying watching a few of his 173 missed FGs as a child.

    Fred Cox played a long time and that was the positive about him as a player. He was not a great kicker. He made 62% of his FGs. To put that in perspective, Mason Crosby has made 80% of his FGs and has made 320 FGs in his career. Mason has played nearly as many as games as Fred Cox did. I believe Mason has played in 202 games and Fred Cox played in 210 games.

    Fred Cox was not even the Vikings best kicker ever. Former Packer Ryan Longwell was.

  22. freefromwhatyouare says:
    November 23, 2019 at 9:44 am
    Sorry to hear that he passed away.

    I will admit to enjoying watching a few of his 173 missed FGs as a child.

    Fred Cox played a long time and that was the positive about him as a player. He was not a great kicker. He made 62% of his FGs. To put that in perspective, Mason Crosby has made 80% of his FGs and has made 320 FGs in his career. Mason has played nearly as many as games as Fred Cox did. I believe Mason has played in 202 games and Fred Cox played in 210 games.

    ==============================================================================

    Cox was one of the better place kickers of his era. His percentages were consistent with the rest of the PKs of his day. Compare any other contemporary of Cox with his numbers if you don’t believe me. Comparing kickers of the 60’s and 70’s with today’s place kickers is like comparing apples to oranges. You will have a hard time finding any place kicker from that era that made anywhere near the percentages that the average placekicker makes today.

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