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Original Vikings' Player Rip Hawkins Dies After Battling Dementia

Rip Hawkins Rip Hawkins |  Photo: Courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

Cassie Hart, KSTP
July 31, 2015 03:18 PM

The second player selected in the history of the Minnesota Vikings has died. The Vikings announced Thursday, Ross Cooper “Rip” Hawkins died at the age of 76 after battling dementia.

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Hawkins was selected by the Vikings with the 15th overall pick in 1961. They team said he made an immediate impact. The middle linebacker was tabbed as captain of the defense in his rookie season by Head Coach Norm Van Brocklin, opposite third-round pick and future Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton.

A celebration of life is planned for Saturday at Wyoming’s Curt Gowdy State Park, which was named in honor of the former sportscaster, and a place where Hawkins liked to volunteer for projects and events. The day will include a meal of Southern-style pulled pork barbecue, slaw, beans and watermelon.

Mary Hawkins said her husband has agreed to donate his brain to the Sports Legacy Institute and Boston University to help look for a cure to the disease.


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Cassie Hart, KSTP

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