MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings are sending condolences to the family and friends of Vikings Legend Bill “Boom Boom” Brown, who passed away Sunday morning.
Brown, a native of Mendota, Illinois, was 80.
The four-time Pro Bowler played 13 seasons for the Vikings (1962-74) after arriving in Minnesota via a trade with the Chicago Bears, who selected him in the second round of the 1961 NFL Draft. He was selected to the 50 Greatest Vikings during the team’s 50th season celebration.
The Vikings held a moment of silence in Brown’s honor before hosting the Detroit Lions on Sunday, and Vikings Owners Zygi and Mark Wilf released the following statement:
“For 13 years as a Minnesota Viking, Bill “Boom Boom” Brown led the team’s rushing attack and established himself as one of the most physical players in the NFL. He embodied all the characteristics the Vikings continue to instill in players today — tough, disciplined, selfless — and became an immediate fan favorite. After his playing days were over, Bill stayed in Minnesota and proudly represented the franchise as an active alum. He will be greatly missed by Vikings alumni, staff and fans. Our prayers are with the entire Brown family at this time.”
Stockily built with bowed legs, Brown moved like a bowling ball, initiating contact with defenders to earn the nickname “Boom Boom” for his aggressive running style.
“I’m not fancy like a halfback, so I’d rather go right at it and get where I can,” Brown told NFL Films.
Brown served as special teams captain and even covered kickoffs late into his career.
Brown became the first Viking to lead the team in rushing in three consecutive seasons (1964-66), and his 251 rush attempts in 1966 led the NFL.
The NFL Films feature explained Brown’s playing style and how it helped build the Vikings into a perennial winner.
“No man better-personified the Viking image than a stumpy, flat-topped fullback named Bill Brown. As the NFL moved toward its years of glamour, Bill Brown was a reminder of its primeval past. Lacking both speed and grace, Brown made his best moves by simply lowering his head. He played football like a man who might have been happier in that long ago era of no substitutions, no timeouts and no helmets.”
Brown explained during the feature, “I didn’t have a lot of fancy moves, so I didn’t use them. I tried it for a while. It didn’t work very good. I got laid out a lot that way. I wasn’t good at turning my side to somebody and trying to around them. I was better off trying to go over them.”
The gritty, determined runner totaled 1,627 attempts (second in Vikings history), 5,757 yards (fourth in team history) and 52 rushing touchdowns (tied for second) and 456 points (ninth) in 180 regular-season games (the most by a Vikings running back).
Brown also added 284 receptions for 3,177 yards and 23 scores, including nine in 1964 when he garnered his first of four selections to the Pro Bowl.
Brown visited troops during the Vietnam War and showed his leadership and heart by organizing a fundraiser to benefit Karl Kassulke after the Vikings defensive back was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.
View photos of former Vikings RB Bill Brown, who played for the team from 1962 to 1974. Brown was inducted to the team's Ring of Honor in 2004 and later named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings.