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PASSINGS / Karl Kassulke

Pro Bowl safety for Minnesota Vikings

October 29, 2008|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Karl Kassulke, 67, a former Pro Bowl safety for the Minnesota Vikings whose career ended when he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack at his home in Eagan, Minn., the team confirmed.

Kassulke spent all 10 years of his career with the Vikings from 1963 to 1972. Considered one of the hardest-hitting defensive backs in franchise history, Kassulke started in the 1970 Super Bowl loss to Kansas City and was named to the Pro Bowl the following season.

But the popular player's career was cut short just before training camp in 1973 when he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident that left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. His wife, Sue, was a nurse who helped him through his rehabilitation, and he was married to her for 33 years.

Kassulke was born March 20, 1941, in Milwaukee and played college football at Drake University in Des Moines.

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