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Ex-Vikings and Six-Time Pro Bowl LB Matt Blair Dies at Age 70

A Viking great has passed away, as linebacker Matt Blair has passed away at the age of 70.

Blair was one of the greatest linebackers in the history of the Vikings franchise, a six-time Pro Bowler who played in two Super Bowls.

His death was announced by the team. Blair, who had been suffering from dementia, died Thursday after an extended period in hospice care, according to the Star Tribune.

“He’d been suffering for a while, so I guess maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” former teammate Scott Studwell told the newspaper. “But it’s still too young. It’s a sad day.”

“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.”

Blair, an All-American at Iowa State, starred immediately for the Cyclones after transferring from Northeast Oklahoma Junior College.

He led them to their first bowl, the 1971 Sun Bowl, to cap an 8-4 season. He was so good in that bowl game that he was named the game’s outstanding defensive player, despite Iowa State’s loss against LSU.

The Vikings took Blair in the second round of the 1974 NFL Draft, for whom he would star for 12 seasons between 1974-85.

He was inducted into the Iowa State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2012.


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