Gene Harrington, a longtime sports radio fixture covering myriad Minnesota events over the years, died Tuesday at age 86. He was an exceedingly nice man — and a guy who was never afraid to ask the first question at a news conference, no matter the circumstance.

The best Gene story: In what I believe was the first Vikings media access session after the Love Boat Scandal in 2005 — yes, that was almost 10 years ago now, happening during the Vikings’ bye week that season before playing Chicago — Gene led off with this question for Daunte Culpepper: “Do you want to talk about the Bears or the Boat?”

Daunte chose the Bears.

It was a classic moment, and a slice of Harrington that shows why so many members of the local media and local teams had tributes to him on Twitter on Wednesday after his obituary appeared. Here are some of the best tributes and a link to Jim Souhan’s 2011 column on Harrington (who also has ties to Vince Lombardi’s Packers):

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More high praise for Vikings from national media

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