Former Vikings defensive lineman Doug Sutherland dies at 73

Sutherland replaced defensive tackle Gary Larsen after he retired, and became part of a feared defensive line that featured Pro Football Hall of Famers Alan Page and Carl Eller, and Jim Marshall.

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Vikings’ Doug Sutherland (top) closes in on Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler in a 1977 game. Sutherland died Tuesday at age 73.

Vikings’ Doug Sutherland (top) closes in on Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler in a 1977 game. Sutherland died Tuesday at age 73.

Sal Veder/AP file photo

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Doug Sutherland, a member of the Purple People Eaters, has died. He was 73.

The team released a statement saying Sutherland died Tuesday, but did not provide a cause of death.

“Doug Sutherland was one of our proudest legends,” Vikings owner Zygi Wilf and Owner/President Mark Wilf said in a joint statement. “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 12 seasons in the NFL from 1970-81 with New Orleans, Minnesota and Seattle. Drafted by the Saints in the 14th round, he was traded to the Vikings the following season and played 10 years in Minnesota. Sutherland registered 29 sacks in 164 career games.

Sutherland replaced defensive tackle Gary Larsen after he retired, and became part of a feared defensive line that featured Pro Football Hall of Famers Alan Page and Carl Eller, and Jim Marshall.

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