One moment summed up Bud Grant and his legend in Minnesota, and it came long after he was done coaching.
In 2016, the Minnesota Vikings played a wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. It was an outdoors game, before the Vikings' new indoor stadium was finished, and the temperature was 6 degrees below zero. The wind chill was 25 degrees below zero. At the time it was the third-coldest playoff game in NFL history.
Grant, who was 88 years old at the time, came out to midfield for the pregame coin toss wearing short sleeves.
Grant was tough, and that’s a big reason he was a great head coach for the Vikings. He died Friday morning at 95 years old, the team announced.
We are absolutely devastated to announce legendary Minnesota Vikings head coach and Hall of Famer Bud Grant has passed away this morning at age 95.
We, like all Vikings and NFL fans, are shocked and saddened by this terrible news. pic.twitter.com/z2NNlNAY44
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) March 11, 2023
Grant stayed active in the Minnesota area long after he was done coaching. And nobody will forget the day he brushed off the excruciating cold in a polo shirt.
Bud Grant was a multi-sport star
The only thing missing from Grant's résumé was a Super Bowl championship. That was a big part of his football story, but not the only thing he should be remembered for.
Grant went to the University of Minnesota. At Minnesota, he won nine varsity letters as a standout in football, basketball and baseball. He was born in Wisconsin but would become a big part of Minnesota lore.
I once asked Bud Grant about, at age 88, wearing short sleeves to a coin toss in -6 temperature. “This is Minnesota. We don’t ask how cold it is outside. We just go outside.” RIP to a legend. pic.twitter.com/qUMN1B1IYo
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) March 11, 2023
In 1950, Grant was a first-round NFL Draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles and a fourth-round pick of the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers. Grant played 96 games over two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He was part of the Lakers' 1950 NBA championship team, appearing in 11 playoff games that season. Then he went to the NFL and the Eagles for the 1951 season. He played defensive end his first season. He was switched to receiver on offense his second season and became the first receiver in Eagles history to have 200 yards in a game.
Grant went to the Canadian Football League after that season, where he played four more seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He also started his coaching career. His time as a coach would overshadow his multi-sport career as a pro athlete.
Grant was a Hall of Fame coach
Grant was a CFL coach for 10 seasons. He won the Grey Cup four times, in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. When the Vikings were looking for their second head coach in team history, they hired Grant.
Grant coached the Vikings from 1967-83, then came back for a final season as Minnesota’s coach in 1985. He never coached another NFL team.
The Vikings had great success with Grant. Minnesota won 11 division championships. They made four Super Bowl appearances. Grant’s final NFL record was 158-96-5. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Grant’s record in Super Bowls is part of his legacy too as the Vikings went 0-4 in them.
He was still fondly remembered in Minnesota. For years he had an annual garage sale at his house that drew Vikings fans and media.
Grant was a legend, from his time as a multi-sport college star to great success as Vikings head coach and even beyond his coaching days. He’ll forever be part of Minnesota lore.