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Vikings great Matt Blair dies at the age of 70

Blair played all 12 of his NFL seasons for the Vikings (1974-85) and finished his career with the second-most tackles in team history (1,452).
Credit: AP
Linebacker Matt Blair with Vikings coach Bud Grant after Minnesota's last-second 28-23 victory over the Cleveland Browns in Bloomington, Minn., Dec. 14, 1980. (AP Photo)

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Vikings great Matt Blair, who played in two Super Bowls and is a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, died on Thursday at the age of 70.

Blair played all 12 of his NFL seasons for the Vikings (1974-85) and finished his career with the second-most tackles in team history (1,452).

"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," said Vikings Owner Mark Wilf in a press release. "Matt is a Ring of Honor player whose legacy will live on forever with the franchise and in the community he loved."

Blair was a second-round pick for the Vikings out of Iowa State in 1974 and went on to play in 160 games at linebacker for Minnesota, including 130 starts. According to the team website, only Scott Studwell and Roy Winston played in more games at linebacker for the Vikings.

"Aside from being a tremendous athlete and player, Matt was a better man," Studwell said in a release. "He was smart, worked at his craft and gave everything for the team. He was a great teammate and fun to be around. He took his work very seriously but had a great life away from football. I'm sad to see him go."

Blair was selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls after becoming a starter in 1976, and was named First-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press in 1980.

Blair wasn't only known for capturing ball carriers, he also had an eye for capturing moments through his lens. Blair was a passionate photographer, whose work is currently on display at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Credit: KARE 11
ST PAUL, MN - JULY 17: Matt Blair and guest pose on the red carpet at the 2016 Starkey Hearing Foundation "So the World May Hear" awards gala at the St Paul RiverCentre on July 17, 2016 in St Paul, Minnesota.