Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Wilf family: Bud Grant “was the Vikings”

Mike Florio and Chris Simms reflect on Bud Grant’s legacy, after the iconic Vikings head coach died at age 95, and honor all his contributions to the NFL.

The NFL lost an icon on Saturday. The Vikings lost the man who best symbolizes what the organization has aspired to be, for decades.

“No single individual more defined the Minnesota Vikings than Bud Grant,” the Wilf family said in a statement. “A once-in-a-lifetime man, Bud will forever be synonymous with success, toughness, the North and the Vikings. In short, he was the Vikings. Words can never truly describe Bud’s impact on this franchise and this community. His commitment to the Vikings never wavered as he was a mainstay in our facility, spending time with coaches and staff in his office on a regular basis. We cherished the times we had together, listening to his tremendous stories and soaking up his knowledge of the game. Most importantly, we are thankful we were able to get to know Bud on a personal level and see first-hand his love for his family. We join members of the Vikings organization, the generations of players Bud impacted, the people of Minnesota and the entire NFL in mourning this monumental loss.”

“Before joining the Vikings I had long known the legacy of Bud Grant, the Minnesota icon who carried himself with class and integrity,” coach Kevin O’Connell said. “From afar, I admired his impact on the Vikings franchise and the NFL. And then I got here and Bud was one of the first people to warmly greet me when I walked through the doors of this facility. I didn’t realize at the time I would be so blessed to build a close friendship with him over the next year. Bud was gracious with his time, meeting in his office weekly to discuss football and life. I will forever cherish those conversations because they made me a better coach, a better husband and father and a better person. It is an honor to lead the same organization he once did, and there is no question Bud’s positive influence will have a lasting impact on me moving forward. My heart goes out to Pat and Bud’s family during this difficult time.”

“I am so fortunate to have been able to spend the last year getting to know Bud Grant,” said G.M. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. “He was one of the most innovative, talented and wise people in the history of the NFL. His commitment to diversity, while not talked about enough, was ahead of his time and provided so much opportunity for others. His amazing life was one of a kind, being a multi-sport athlete at his beloved University of Minnesota, getting drafted in both the NFL and the NBA, playing in both leagues and ultimately becoming a Hall of Fame head coach in both the CFL and NFL. What’s truly inspiring is that he accomplished all of that while also being committed to his family and to helping others. We should all strive to leave such a lasting mark. Our organization and the Minnesota sports community is forever indebted to Bud Grant. Rest in peace, Bud.”

Grant joined the Vikings in 1967. For 55 years, he was synonymous with the name. He was a living embodiment of the team’s work ethic and resolve. It’s hard to imagine the Vikings without him.