Doug Sutherland, Former Vikings DT, Dies at Age 73

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 5, 2022

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 20: A detail view of a Minnesota Vikings helmet is seen during a game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings on December 20, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings announced former defensive tackle Doug Sutherland died Tuesday at the age of 73.

Vikings chairman Zygi Wilf and president Mark Wilf released a statement on the player who was a member of the Purple People Eaters defense and named one of the 50 best players in franchise history:

"Doug Sutherland was one of our proudest Legends. His humble nature did not allow for him to talk much about his own playing career, but Doug was a key member of some of the best defenses in NFL history and three Super Bowl teams. Doug was also the consummate teammate after football. He was one of the most active members of Vikings Legends events and didn't miss a chance to help out at a community event or lend a hand where needed. Our thoughts are with Doug's friends and family."

Sutherland played collegiately at Wisconsin-Superior before the New Orleans Saints selected him in the 14th round of the 1970 NFL draft. He played middle linebacker and guard during his rookie season, but New Orleans traded him to the Vikings ahead of the 1971 campaign.

He then played the next 10 years for Minnesota before finishing his career with one season on the Seattle Seahawks.

The Vikings moved Sutherland to defensive tackle, where he played 138 games and started 90 for the team. He had 27.5 sacks with the team and helped lead it to the playoffs eight times and Super Bowl three times.

Though Minnesota did not win a Lombardi Trophy, it was one of the most successful stretches in franchise history.

The Vikings' announcement noted Sutherland returned to coach for five seasons at his alma mater and then launched a successful real estate career following his playing days.