The Minnesota Vikings celebrated the life of Bud Grant this past Sunday. Thousands of fans gathered at U.S. Bank Stadium to pay their respects to the legendary head coach. In attendance were members of the Grant family and current and former players, along with members of the media and state legislature. There, they shared fond memories of Bud and the impact he had on the lives he touched, the state of Minnesota, and the game of football.
Legendary coach Bud Grant's football legacy will forever be felt in Minnesota, where he was a coach and executive with the Vikings for more than 50 years.— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) May 22, 2023
The Vikings honored the late Grant with a memorial service at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
Mike Grant recalled Bud’s last hunting trip near Henning, Minnesota. “I fondly remember him hunting deer last year and having breakfast at the Old Homestead Cafe, where he was as comfortable as if he was at some fancy restaurant.” Grant said. “He chatted with many of the locals as if he was an old friend, and I think in many ways to all of you, he really was an old friend.”
"I think in many ways, to all of you, he really was an old friend." - Mike Grant on his dad, Bud pic.twitter.com/V40z0FigiZ— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 21, 2023
One thing that stood out to Carl Eller was the level of toughness Bud instilled into his team. When playing outdoors in the freezing cold, Bud would say “The cold doesn’t matter, the guy across from you is who you have to play against.” This mentality permeated throughout the entire team and it gave the Vikings a winning edge in those brisk late-season games at The Old Met.
Cold weather didn't matter.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 21, 2023
The guy across from you is who you were playing against. pic.twitter.com/M7u2GT8ABc
While Bud’s down-home nature and toughness will always be fondly remembered, what’s most important is that he did things his way. Bud Grant was never a prototypical head coach who did things by the book. He was very unconventional. Paul Wiggin recalls a time when at the first day of training camp, Grant told defensive backs coach Pete Carroll to go to the library and learn about the Khyber Pass so he could give a presentation on it. Wiggin to this day, still has no idea why Bud Grant did this, but it was Bud’s way of doing things.
Even in his short time knowing him, Kevin O’Connell says Bud Grant had a tremendous impact on him. “Although I didn’t know Bud personally long, it was one of the more impactful relationships that I’ve had over the past year since being blessed to become the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.” O’Connell said.
"Although I didn't know Bud personally long, it was one of the more impactful relationships that I've had over the past year since being blessed to become the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings." - Kevin O'Connell on Bud Grant pic.twitter.com/WlNurh2468— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 21, 2023
Not only did Bud Grant have a big impact on the people he interacted with, he also touched the lives of those throughout the nation. Senator Amy Klobuchar presented the Grant family with a plaque designating Bud Grant as a national hero. Upon receiving the award, Mike Grant jokingly said: “My dad would’ve looked at this and said ‘How much can I get at the garage sale for it, if I signed it?’”
Bud Grant is a hero not only for Minnesota, but for our nation. pic.twitter.com/1u2GdK8aW7— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) May 21, 2023
Bud Grant may be best remembered as a hall of fame head coach and a national hero. However to many he was a tough, authentic, and caring man who enjoyed the simpler things in life like going on hunting trips with friends, being a regular at a local cafe, or hosting yearly garage sales while interacting with fans. I think that’s why Minnesotans loved Bud so much, because he felt like an old friend to many of us.
Rest in peace, Bud. You will be missed.