Mason, Vikings’ first pick of franchise, dies

Tommy Mason, the first draft pick in Vikings franchise history, has died at the age of 75.

Running back Tommy Mason, the first draft pick in Minnesota Vikings history, has died. He was 75.

Mason's sister-in-law, Suzanne MacNeil, says Mason died Thursday at his home in Newport Beach, California. No cause of death was given.

The Vikings took Mason out of Tulane with the first overall selection in 1961. The native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, played six of his 11 NFL seasons with the Vikings and became their first All-Pro player in 1963. He also was picked for three Pro Bowls.

Mason is eighth on the team's all-time rushing list with 3,252 yards and ninth with 39 touchdowns. He also was a kickoff and punt returner.

Mason went on to play four years with the Los Angeles Rams and his final season with the Washington Redskins. He finished his NFL career with 4,203 yards rushing and 2,324 yards receiving with 45 total touchdowns.


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