UPDATE: The original version of this story said that the Vikings fired Jerry Burns after the 1991 season. Burns, in fact, retired after that season was over. The story has been corrected and I apologize for the error. -Chris
The Minnesota Vikings have lost another one of their legends.
The #Vikings mourn the loss of Ring of Honor coach Jerry Burns.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 12, 2021
Burns, who served as the franchise’s offensive coordinator (1968–1985) and head coach (1986-1991), passed away today at the age of 94. pic.twitter.com/OSncmzfMVl
The team has announced the passing of former head coach Jerry Burns at the age of 94.
Burns served as the team’s offensive coordinator from 1968 to 1985, a period that spanned pretty much the entire Bud Grant era in Minnesota. After Grant’s one-year return from retirement in 1985, Burns officially took over as the team’s head coach in 1986. He would hold that position for six seasons before resigning after the 1991 season.
Burns led the Vikings to the playoffs three times in his six seasons as head coach, including a run to the NFC Championship Game in 1987 that saw the Vikings demolish both the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers before falling just short against the eventual Super Bowl champs for that year, the Washington Redskins. He compiled a record of 52-43 in his six years as the head man on the Vikings’ sideline.
Bud Grant has released a statement on the passing of Coach Burns. It reads as follows:
I met Burnsie at Iowa when he picked me up from the airport when I was visiting down there and from that point on we started talking football and never stopped. We were on the same page a lot. When I went to Winnipeg I would have him come up as a guest coach. Our friendship grew over the years and we became very close friends and so did our families. When I got the job in Minnesota I talked to him about coming here but he had a contract with Green Bay. The first year I was at the Vikings I coached one guy short, I was holding the job for Burnsie until he could come the next year. He was a very astute football mind. He could see things on the field immediately. He was as important to my career as anyone I’ve been involved with. His coaching help, friendship, loyalty, family — he brought everything to the Vikings he had. I’m gonna miss him.
We want to send our condolences to the friends and family of Jerry Burns on his passing.