EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - As the Vikings get ready for their season opener, the team is mourning the loss of their very first athletic trainer.
Fred Zamberletti died this past weekend at the age of 86.
Zamberletti was known to many as the “heart and soul” of all things purple
There was a huge outpouring of support for him and his family Friday at the Vikings Museum as former players, staff and coaches stopped by to pay their respects.
An Iowa native, Zamberletti became a beloved figure with the Vikings organization over the course of his life.
In 1961, the same year the team was founded, he was named the Vikings trainer.
He then went on to become the team's coordinator of medical services and eventually the team historian until recently as this year.
Zamberletti had struggled recently with his health and passed away from an infection.
Former players we talked with say he had a no-nonsense approach to the game and recovery from injuries.
“When you got injured, they sent you to Fred,” said former Viking Car Hilton. “You spent the whole practice doing all types of flip flops and everything and you actually rushed back before you were ready to get onto the practice field because Fred was tough, but he had a kind, big heart.
Despite his toughness, everyone at the memorial said he was a friend and a mentor. He’s somebody they will dearly miss.