Former Vikings and Cardinals coach Dennis Green died of cardiac arrest Friday morning, a friend told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Green was 67.
Green is best remembered for his stint as the Vikings head coach from 1992–2001. He led Minnesota to the playoffs in eight out of his ten seasons, including two NFC Championship Game appearances.
Green then moved to Arizona, where he provided one of the most memorable sound bytes in NFL history, proclaiming after the Cardinals blew a 20-point lead to the Bears in October 2006, “They are who we thought they were! And we let them off the hook!”
Many of Green’s former players reacted to the news on Twitter, including Kurt Warner and Robert Smith.
My heart goes out to family of my former coach Denny Green - we lost a good man way too soon!— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) July 22, 2016
Rest in peace Denny. I lost my mother in April, I feel like I just lost father.— robert smith (@Robert26Smith) July 22, 2016
A coach in both the college and NFL ranks, Green entered the profession after a very short playing career in the CFL. Green worked at his alma mater Iowa and Stanford before joining the 49ers as a special teams coach in 1979.
He returned to the college ranks as the Cardinal’s offensive coordinator in 1980, then took over at Northwestern from 1981–85. Green went back to the 49ers in ‘86, then took over Stanford’s head coaching job from ‘89 to ‘91.
After three seasons in Arizona, Green didn’t coach for two years until he took over the head job for the UFL’s Sacramento Mountain Lions, where he spent three seasons.
A native of Pennsylvania, Green attended the University of Iowa from 1968–1970.