On the day the Minnesota Vikings celebrate the Grand Opening of the new US Bank Stadium with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Minneapolis, the team is also mourning the death of former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals coach, Dennis Green, who passed away Thursday night (July 21, 2016). According to his family, Green experienced complications from cardiac arrest; his family was by his side when he died. He was 67 years old.
The Minnesota Vikings released the following statement upon the news of Green’s death:
We are incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of former Vikings Head Coach Dennis Green. Denny made his mark in ways far beyond being an outstanding football coach. He mentored countless players and served as a father figure for the men he coached. Denny founded the Vikings Community Tuesday Program, a critical initiative that is now implemented across the entire NFL. He took great pride in helping assistant coaches advance their careers. His tenure as one of the first African American head coaches in both college and the NFL was also transformative. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Green family.
In a written statement, NFL executive vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent said: “We are saddened to hear the news of Dennis Green’s passing. Denny was a terrific head coach and inspired his players on and off the field. He helped pave the way for minority coaches and recently served as a key advisor on the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel. On behalf of the NFL, our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Green family.”
Green coached in the NFL for 13 seasons; nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings from 1992-2001 where he led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game in 1998 and 2000. In 1998 the Vikings went 15-1 during the regular season. Green ranks second behind legendary Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant for the categories of “games coached, wins and winning percentage” in Vikings franchise history. Green’s overall NFL record was 113-94, with a 4-8 playoff record. He also made NFL history as the second African-American Head Coach when the Vikings hired him in 1992, three years after the Raiders hired Art Shell as the team head coach.
Dennis Green coached several NFL legends over his years, including former Vikings’ runningback Robert Smith, and Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Kurt Warner.
Rest in peace Denny. I lost my mother in April, I feel like I just lost father.
— robert smith (@Robert26Smith) July 22, 2016