Wow: Former Vikings linebacker Matt Blair dies at 70

BleedGopher

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Former Vikings linebacker Matt Blair died Thursday, the team announced. He was 70.

“A player of unmatched skill on the field, Matt’s generosity and spirit in the community was equally unique,” the Vikings said in a statement. “Always willing to help a teammate or support a worthy cause, Matt’s life was vibrant. He brought joy to everyone he touched.”


The Vikings selected Blair in the second round of the 1974 draft out of Iowa State. He played all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Vikings.

“Matt Blair was a great presence at Vikings events and a tremendous teammate long after playing. He embodied the best of what it means to be a Viking,” Vikings Owner Mark Wilf said in a statement. “Matt is a Ring of Honor player whose legacy will live on forever with the franchise and in the community he loved.”


Skol Matt Blair!!
 

Frink

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I remember him coming out to my elementary school out in the sticks to promote reading. He always seemed like a class act. RIP.
 

short ornery norwegian

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back in the day, the Vikings used to have a basketball team that would go around in the off-season and play charity games against a team from whatever city they were visiting.

The Vikes basketball team played in my home town one year. Blair was easily the best player on the Vikes' team. He threw down a couple of dunks and put on a good show.

the other thing I remember about that game was the local HS girls drooling over Scott Studwell, when he was young and had the curly hair.
 

Bad Gopher

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A friend of ours--the pianist at our wedding--dated him for a short time back in the day. She confirms what I thought based on the couple times I met him: a kind, gentle man. So sad that he's gone.
 

LongLiveMilesTarver

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I remember him coming out to my elementary school out in the sticks to promote reading. He always seemed like a class act. RIP.
He did that at my elementary school (also in the sticks) after I had already graduated high school but my mother was the secretary at the elementary school and got some pictures and autographs and said he was the nicest guy ever.
 

Frink

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back in the day, the Vikings used to have a basketball team that would go around in the off-season and play charity games against a team from whatever city they were visiting.

The Vikes basketball team played in my home town one year. Blair was easily the best player on the Vikes' team. He threw down a couple of dunks and put on a good show.
I remember those games as well. Blair dunking sounds right as he was the guy who blocked field goals by running up behind the line and jumping up, back when that was still allowed.
 

gopher7

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In the fall of 2015 Fred McNeill died from ALS. He was 63.

Wally Hilgenberg died from ALS in 2008. He was 66.

Safety Orlando Thomas, who played from 1995-2001, also died of ALS in 2014. He was 42.

Chris Doleman died after a battle with brain cancer. He was 58 years old.

And Hall of Fame center Mick Tingelhoff has been battling serious cognitive health problems since before his enshrinement in Canton in 2015.
 

GopherVotary

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In the fall of 2015 Fred McNeill died from ALS. He was 63.

Wally Hilgenberg died from ALS in 2008. He was 66.
LBs seem to have a high incidence of CTE. SI recently had an article regarding numerous USC LBs from 30 years ago who died prior to age 50 (including Junior Seau) where CTE appeared to play a part. Sounds like Blair suffered from CTE.
 

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back in the day, the Vikings used to have a basketball team that would go around in the off-season and play charity games against a team from whatever city they were visiting.

The Vikes basketball team played in my home town one year. Blair was easily the best player on the Vikes' team. He threw down a couple of dunks and put on a good show.

the other thing I remember about that game was the local HS girls drooling over Scott Studwell, when he was young and had the curly hair.
Those were fun.
 

Bad Gopher

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LBs seem to have a high incidence of CTE. SI recently had an article regarding numerous USC LBs from 30 years ago who died prior to age 50 (including Junior Seau) where CTE appeared to play a part. Sounds like Blair suffered from CTE.
We were talking about this at dinner last night. A lot of collisions at the LB position. (I wonder if RBs' typically short careers aren't a blessing in disguise: fewer total collisions.) Safeties, too: besides Orlando Thomas, didn't Dave Duerson have CTE as well, or do I remember wrong?
 

BTChamp

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In the fall of 2015 Fred McNeill died from ALS. He was 63.

Wally Hilgenberg died from ALS in 2008. He was 66.

Safety Orlando Thomas, who played from 1995-2001, also died of ALS in 2014. He was 42.

Chris Doleman died after a battle with brain cancer. He was 58 years old.

And Hall of Fame center Mick Tingelhoff has been battling serious cognitive health problems since before his enshrinement in Canton in 2015.
I had to double check. I didn't know Chris Doleman died. 2 days after my birthday (not that that's important). Man that sucks too. Along with this of course.
 

LakevilleBro

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I had forgotten that Matt Blair had blocked 20 NFL kicks. He had an amazing career. RIP Matt.
 
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