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Legendary NFL Kicker Has Passed Away At 80

The NFL logo in the middle of Metlife Stadium.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 08: A detail of the official National Football League NFL logo is seen painted on the turf as the New York Giants host the Atlanta Falcons during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at MetLife Stadium on January 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

A legendary NFL player passed away earlier this week.

Fred Cox, the franchise leader in points for the Minnesota Vikings, passed away on Wednesday night in Minnesota, the team said in a statement. He was 80 years old.

Cox played 15 seasons for the Vikings - the third-longest tenure in franchise history.

The Vikings released a statement about Cox's passing.

The Vikings mourn the loss of Fred Cox, one of our proudest legends and a member of the 50 Greatest Vikings. 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.

Off the field, Cox teamed with John Mattox to invent the NERF football. Hall of Fame quarterback and former Vikings teammate Fran Tarkenton raved about Cox.

“He had a great brain and was a great thinker,” Tarkenton said. “Fred was a great businessman and invented the Nerf football. He was an intellect that I spent every morning with before we played a game. I spent more time with him than any other player. Fred was a special, special human being who will be missed.”

Our thoughts are with the Cox family and Vikings organization.