Bud Grant, Legendary Minnesota Vikings Coach, Dead at 95

Bud Grant, the longtime Minnesota Vikings coach who led the team to four Super Bowl appearances, has died, the team announced on Saturday. He was 95 years old, and the cause of death was not announced. 

"No single individual more defined the Minnesota Vikings than Bud Grant," Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf and their family said in a statement. "A once-in-a lifetime man, Bud will forever be synonymous with success, toughness, the north and the Vikings."  

Grant began his professional football coaching career in 1957 when he was the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadia Football League. In his 10 seasons with the CFL, Grant led the Blue Bombers to six Grey Cup appearances and four Grey Cup titles. He was also named CFL Coach of the Year in 1965. 

Grant was hired as the Vikings' head coach in 1967 and got off to a slow start as the team finished the 1967 season with a 3-8 record. But the Vikings turned things around in 1968 when they finished 8-6 and won the NFL Central division title. The following year, Grant led the Vikings to an NFL Championship, but the team lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. He would lead the Vikings to three more Super Bowls in the 1970s, and the team would lose all three games. Grant would remain the Vikings head coach until he retired after the 1983 season. However, he returned to the team in 1985 after head coach Les Steckel was fired. The 1985 season would be his final one after leading the Vikings to a 7-9 record. 

"I am so saddened by today's news. Before joining the Vikings, I had long known the legacy of Bud Grant, the Minnesota icon who carried himself with class and integrity. From afar, I admired his impact on the Vikings franchise and the NFL," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said in a statement, per ESPN. "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."

Grant finished his NFL coaching career with 158 regular season wins and 10 playoff wins. In his CFL career, Grant won 102 regular season games and 16 playoff games. He's a member of the Vikings 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams as well as the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.