Vikings' first draft pick Mason dies

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Eden Prairie, MN ( - The Minnesota Vikings announced Thursday that the club's first-ever draft pick, running back Tommy Mason, died at the age of 75.

"Tommy was an enormous talent. He was a great player, a humble man and an outstanding teammate. I will always cherish the years I spent with Tommy," said former quarterback and franchise icon Fran Tarkenton.

Mason starred at Tulane before the expansion Minnesota club took him with the first-overall selection of the 1961 draft. He was also the franchise's first All-Pro selection in 1963.

The Louisiana native totaled 3,252 yards and 28 touchdowns over 70 appearances in six seasons for the Vikes (1961-66). He also suited up for the Rams (1967-70) and Redskins (1971).