Minnesota Legend, Bud Grant, Dies at Age 95

Photo: Ronald C. Modra - Getty Images

Harry Peter “Bud” Grant Jr. was born on May 20, 1927 and he might be the most legendary sports figure in Minnesota history. Not only is he the greatest coach to ever lead the Minnesota Vikings, but he also lettered in three sports (football, basketball, baseball) at the University of Minnesota and, in 1950, he was drafted to both the NFL (14th overall – Eagles) and NBA (47th overall – Lakers).

On Saturday morning, the Vikings announced that the iconic local legend was dead at the age of 95.

Professional Athlete

Bud Grant won an NBA Championship with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950, but his NBA career only lasted just 1.5 seasons. Basketball wasn’t what he wanted to do. So he flipped career paths and joined the Philadelphia Eagles, who drafted him in 1950, for the 1951 NFL season.

Grant played defensive end in his rookie season and led the Eagles in sacks. He switched to wide receiver in year two and ranked 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards (997). The guy was good at everything.

Contract disputes with the Eagles made Grant jump borders to Canada where he quickly became a CFL legend. Here’s what his Wikipedia page says about his Canadian football career.

[Grant] played for the Blue Bombers until 1956 as an offensive end and was named a Western Conference all-star three times.[12][19] He led the Western Conference in pass receptions for the 1953, 1954, and 1956 seasons and receiving yards for the 1953 and 1956 seasons.[12] He also holds the distinction of having five interceptions in a playoff game, played on October 28, 1953, which is a record in all of professional football.[4][20] The Blue Bombers played for the Grey Cup in 1953, but lost to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 41st Grey Cup game.[12]

Coaching Career

Bud Grant cut his coaching teeth in Canada, where he led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to Grey Cup appearances in six of his ten seasons as head coach, finishing as champions in 1958, 1959, 1961 and 1962. His final record was 122-66-3 as a CFL head coach.

In 1967, Grant was hired by the Minnesota Vikings and he remained the head coach for 18 seasons, through 1985. He won the Central division 11 times and made the playoffs 12 times. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to win any of the four Super Bowls he and the Vikings participated in.

Grant was named to the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and remained a much better hunter than me until damn near the day he died.

RIP to a legend.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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