Bud Grant turns 95: Five facts about the Vikings Hall of Fame coach, including his playing career with the Lakers

When Adrian Peterson and the rest of the Vikings took the field for the 2016 playoff game against the Seahawks, Bud Grant left with them. Grant, then 88, immediately went viral as he took to the field in a short-sleeved shirt, despite the temperature of -6 degrees.

Grant’s mental strength was shared by many of his Vikings teams, especially those that reached the Super Bowl four times between 1969-77. During his 18 years on the sideline, Grant led the Vikings to 168 wins, a .621 regular season win percentage, three NFC titles, and an NFL title in 1969. Grant’s success in Minnesota led to him being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

Here are five facts about Grant, who on Friday, May 20th, celebrated his 95th birthday.

Minneapolis Laker and NFL Star Receiver

Grant was a three-sport and nine-time lyricist in Wisconsin while playing football, basketball, and baseball. His success in football and basketball led to him being selected in both the NFL and NBA drafts. Grant was selected by the Eagles with the 14th overall pick in the 1950 NFL Draft and was selected by the Lakers with the 42nd overall pick in that year’s NBA Draft. The Lakers being a local team, along with his friend Sid Hartman being the team’s general manager, played a role in Grant’s choice to play for Minneapolis.

Grant played two years with the Lakers and was part of the franchise’s first championship team in 1950, but after those two seasons in the NBA as a reserve, he decided to switch to the NFL. After leading the Eagles in sacks in 1951, Grant switched to offense in 1952 and was second in the NFL that season with 997 yards. Grant caught 11 passes for 203 yards and two scores in a season-ending win over the Dallas Texans.

Canadian Football League Star

Grant joined the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers following a contract dispute with the Eagles following the 1952 season. A three-time all-star, Grant led his respective conference in receptions three times and in receiving yards twice. Grant also intercepted a record five CFL playoff interceptions in a playoff game.

Blue Bomber Trainer

At 29, Grant became the youngest head coach in CFL history when the Blue Bombers signed him before the start of the 1957 season. During his decade as head coach of the Blue Bombers, Grant led the team to six Gray Cup appearances and four championships. Grant, who was also the team’s general manager for three seasons, compiled a record of 122-66-3 during his career as head coach of the Blue Bombers.

History in Minnesota

Grant was initially contacted about coaching the Vikings in 1961, as the team was preparing for its inaugural season. Grant turned down the offer at the time, but accepted an offer to coach the Vikings before the 1967 season.

Grant was part of a historic trade early in his tenure with the Vikings. He helped orchestrate a rare exchange between two separate leagues: the NFL and the CFL. In the trade, the Vikings acquired quarterback Joe Kapp – then of the BC Lions – in exchange for running back/receiver Jim Young, a Canadian-born player. Young ended up enjoying a successful 13-year season with the Lions, while Kapp guided the Vikings to the franchise’s first NFL title in 1969, the final game played before the AFL-NFL merger.

The Vikings continued to be a league powerhouse into the 1970s. Minnesota reached the Super Bowl three more times during the decade as Grant became the second head coach (Don Shula being the first) to lead his team to four Super Bowls. Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton was the team’s starter during Minnesota’s Super Bowl appearances in 1973, 1974, and 1976. The Vikings were also led by a dominant defense that was nicknamed “The Purple People Eaters.” . The unit was led by Hall of Famers Alan Page, Carl Eller, Paul Krause and defensive end Jim Marshall, who spent 20 years with the Vikings.

Grant was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. In a combined 28 years as head coach, Grant won two Coach of the Year honors while leading his teams to 10 championship games. He recorded a combined record of 260-152-7 in the regular season and 23-16 in the postseason.

famous garage sales

Grant has held at least a dozen highly attended garage sales in recent years. Autographed bobbleheads, memorabilia from his coaching career, hunting artifacts and other non-football related items have sold at his garage sales over the years.

“If you don’t want to buy it, the guy behind you will,” Grant said during his 2017 garage sale.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.