Legendary Vikings coach Grant dies

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Bud Grant, the legendary coach who led the Minnesota Vikings to four Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s, has died at the age of 95, the team announced on Saturday.

"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,” the club posted on social media. "We, like all Vikings and NFL fans, are shocked and saddened by this terrible news."

A 1994 inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Grant was known for his stoic demeanour and steely-eyed stare. The teams he coached were feared for their 'Purple People Eaters' defense.

Grant led the Vikings from 1967-83, and again in 1985, compiling a 158-96-5 record. When he retired, Grant was eighth on the all-time coaching wins list.

Under his guidance, Minnesota played in the Super Bowls following the 1970, 1973, 1974 and 1976 seasons but lost all four. The franchise hasn't been back to a Super Bowl since.

The 1970 season was the last before the AFL-NFL merger. Grant's Vikings won the NFL championship that season, despite losing Super Bowl IV to the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs, 23-7.

Born in Superior, Wisconsin, Grant played football, basketball and baseball at the University of Minnesota and was drafted to play in both the NFL and NBA.

Grant played two seasons for the Minneapolis Lakers and won an NBA championship in 1950 before turning his focus to the football field.

He caught 56 passes for 997 yards for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1952 before leaving the NFL for the Canadian Football League, where he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Grant played four seasons in the CFL before becoming Winnipeg's coach.

Grant coached the Blue Bombers for 10 seasons, winning 102 games and four Grey Cup championships. The team would later build a statue of Grant outside their stadium.

His success in Canada opened an opportunity for Grant to coach the Vikings in 1967, and a storied NFL career was born.

Grant went on to become an icon for the state of Minnesota and a permanent resident, living in the same home he bought when hired by the Vikings in 1967.

Even after he retired from coaching, the Vikings listed Grant as a consultant every year from 1986 to 2023, and he maintained an office at the team facility.