Longtime Vikings LB Matt Blair dies at 70

Ryan Young
·1 min read

Longtime Minnesota Vikings linebacker and former Iowa State star Matt Blair died on Thursday, the team announced.

He was 70.

His cause of death was not announced, though he had been dealing with complications from dementia, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Matt Blair was a great presence at Vikings events and a tremendous teammate long after playing,” 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.”

Bud Grant, right, and Matt Blair smile while walking to the dressing room.
Vikings coach Bud Grant and linebacker Matt Blair after Minnesota's last-second 28-23 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 14, 1980. (AP Photo)

Blair was selected by the Vikings in the second round of the 1974 draft, and he spent all 12 seasons in the league in Minnesota. The six-time Pro Bowler recorded 1,452 tackles, the second-most in Vikings history, and 16 interceptions throughout his career before he retired in 1985. Blair had 20 total blocked kicks in Minnesota, too, and amassed 230 tackles during the 1981 season alone — the third most in a single season by a Vikings player in team history.

He was inducted into the Vikings’ Ring of Honor in 2012.

The Hawaii native walked on at Iowa State in 1969 and was named an All-American as a senior in 1973. He was inducted into the Cyclones’ Hall of Fame in 1999.

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