Former NFL scout Frank Gilliam died recently at the age of 89.
The longtime Viking leader was one of the league's first black scouts, serving for four decades.
The Minnesota Vikings lost one of their own as legendary scout Frank Gilliam passed away at age 89. https://t.co/MLCgCF8Zbq
— TheVikingsWire (@TheVikingsWire) April 2, 2023
"Not only was he a great leader with unmatched skills and a keen eye for what it takes to play and be successful in the NFL, he was also a great mentor and friend,” former director of player personnel Scott Studwell said.
“The Vikings family lost an iconic piece of their past successes, and I am forever grateful to have Frank in my life — RIP my friend. I love you and will miss you for the rest of my days," he added.
The #Vikings are mourning the passing of Frank Gilliam.
Gilliam, one of the first Black scouts in NFL history, helped build some of the best rosters in team history for the better part of four decades until retiring in June 2007. pic.twitter.com/8oblxNjtpG
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 2, 2023
"The Steubenville, Ohio native became one of the first Black scouts in NFL history, per Vikings.com. He arrived when Jim Finks was the team’s General Manager and former Iowa teammate Jerry Reichow was the director of player personnel," NBC Sports reported.
"Gilliam played for future Vikings coach Bud Grant, who died last month at 95, with Winnipeg of the CFL from 1957 through 1959. Gilliam then became an assistant coach under future Vikings coach Jerry Burns at Iowa," it added.
Frank Gilliam, one of the first Black scouts in NFL history and a member of the Vikings organization from 1970 through 2007, has died at the age of 89. https://t.co/N45TRTYldv
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 2, 2023
"Last July, the Vikings launched the Gilliam-Reichow Personnel Fellowship, creating opportunities for aspiring personnel and scouting executives to learn more about how to develop an NFL roster," the Star Tribune noted.
"Former Vikings running back Doug Chapman was one of three participants in the fellowship last year," it added.
The longtime Viking personnel leader made a massive impact on the team. During his years, Gilliam helped with drafting some of the team's greatest players.
Among them were Carl Lee and Randy Moss, some of the team's all-time leaders in various statistical categories.
The loss of Gilliam is a massive one for Vikings fans, marking the end of a legacy that has impacted the lifetimes of millions of athletes and NFL followers.