Legendary Vikings Coach Bud Grant Passes Away At 95
One of the most iconic figures in the history of the Minnesota Vikings has passed away.
The longest-tenured coach in Vikings history, Bud Grant, passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 95. The team announced the news in a website and social media post, with the following message:
Grant became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a part of the class of 1994, with an impressive career under his belt. During Grant's tenure as head coach, the Vikings collected 11 division titles, made 12 playoff appearances, and earned all four of the franchise's Super Bowl appearances.
Following Norm Van Brocklin to become the second head coach of the Vikings in team history, Grant took the helm from 1967 to 1983, notching a 151-87-5 regular season record during those 17 years. Grant retired after the 1983 season, being replaced by Les Steckel as head coach in 1984. After a 3-13 season for Steckel, he was fired and Grant took the role of head coach one more year in 1985, where his team went 7-9. This brought Grant's overall record to 158-96-5 in the 18 years he served as head coach.
Besides being an outstanding NFL coach, Grant stands as the only person to have played in the NFL, CFL, and NBA. Grant was a gifted athlete, playing basketball for Superior High School in Superior, Wisconsin before enlisting in the Navy. He eventually went on to play football, basketball, and baseball for the University of Minnesota. During that time, he earned All-Big Ten honors twice in football.
Grant was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers basketball team and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1950. He went on to play for both teams before playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team in the Canadian Football League.
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After his playing time with the Blue Bombers, Grant took on the role of head coach, leading the team to 6 Grey Cup appearances and 4 Grey Cup victories. The Superior, Wisconsin native then returned to the United States, where he became the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, taking over for Norm Van Brocklin.
After the Vikings made their first Super Bowl appearance under Grant, Bud became the first coach to have ever led teams to both the Grey Cup in Canada and the Super Bowl in the United States. The only other coach to have done this is Marv Levy.
A couple of Grant's legacies were his hard-nosed coaching style and signature Purple People Eaters defense that powered the team to success in Grant's heyday. He became the first head coach to lead a team to four Super Bowls. While his teams were unable to win any of those four games, the team has not been back since.
Grant's tough persona over the years was revisited in January of 2016, when he walked out onto the field in a short-sleeve shirt at TCF Bank Stadium ahead of a playoff game between the Vikings and Seahawks. The then-88-year-old seemed pretty unphased by the -6 air temperature and wind chill of -25 as he went out as an honorary team captain for the coin toss.
Bud maintained a presence with the team up to his death. He maintained an office at the team's headquarters and offered team consultation and would be spotted at games.
Rest in peace Bud.