Former Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green dies


Former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green died early Friday morning after suffering a heart attack. He was 67.

Family friend and former agent Ray Anderson confirmed the death to ESPN's Adam Schefter after speaking with Green's wife. Anderson said Green died after a cardiac arrest.

Former Vikings running back Robert Smith, now a FOX Sports college football analyst, posted a message on Twitter.

"Rest in peace Denny. I lost my mother in April, I feel like I just lost father," Smith tweeted.

Green coached the Vikings to the NFC title games following the 1998 and 2000 seasons.

In all, Green made eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons with the Vikings.

“We are incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of former Vikings Head Coach Dennis Green,” the Vikings posted on their website. “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.”

Green led the Vikings to a 15-1 record in the 1998 season, highlighted by newcomer Randy Moss. The team lost the NFC Championship game at the Metrodome when Gary Anderson missed a late field goal -- his first of the season -- and the Vikings lost to Atlanta in overtime.

Green's team lost to the New York Giants 41-0 two years later in an attempt for the Vikings to reach their first Super Bowl since 1977.

Green finished his career in 2006 with a 113-94 overall record in 13 seasons as a head coach and a 4-8 mark in the postseason.

Green spent 17 years as a coach in the NFL. He was a special teams coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers for a season and later their wide receivers coach for three seasons in the 1980s.

After a stint as the head coach of Stanford University, Green returned to the NFL and led the Vikings from 1992 through 2001. He returned three years later as the head coach of the Cardinals from 2004 through 2006.

Green also served as a head coach at Northwestern.