And This Is the Coolest Vikings Story You’ll Read All Day

Vikings May Have First
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

You’ll read about the Minnesota Vikings roster, organized team activities, minicamp, training camp, and preseason games in the next three months. ‘Tis the season.

But what you might not have expected is a heartwarming little tale about Bud Grant, the legendary Vikings head coach who passed away in March.

And This Is the Coolest Vikings Story You’ll Read All Day

Indeed, the gesture involved Grant and current Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell.

Coolest Vikings Story
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports.’s Albert Breer visited the Vikings headquarters in Eagan this week and revealed that the late Grant gifted a tie to O’Connell before his passing — the one he wore at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Breer tweeted, “Spent some time with the Vikings today, and man this is the coolest thing —before he passed, legendary coach Bud Grant gifted the tie he wore for his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction to current coach Kevin O’Connell.”

The Vikings Have an
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll hold on a minute while you cut some onions.

[tissues down]

Born in 1927, Grant took over the Vikings in 1967, six years after the team’s inception, and whisked a poor-to-average franchise to prominence. The 19th-winningest coach in the history of professional football, Grant won 62.1% of games, a mark precisely equivalent to Joe Gibbs of Washington Commanders fame. From 1967 to 1985, the Vikings were 158-96-5 on Grant’s watch.

The Vikings, Grant’s family, and fans celebrated the skipper’s life last Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The recipient of the tie, O’Connell, said at the celebration, “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.”

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports.

“I like to pride myself on trying to attempt to have that sort of authenticity, that sort humility every day leading an organization like Bud Grant did at the highest levels for so long,” O’Connell added.

In the six seasons before Grant’s arrival to the Vikings, Minnesota was the league’s sixth-worst franchise with a .369 win percentage. On his dime, that climbed to fifth-best (.632). When he retired from the Vikings for good, the franchise became the ninth-best organization from 1986 to present with a .551 win percentage.

Grant reigned over the famous Purple People Eaters Vikings defense in the late 1960s and the entirety of the 1970s. He also won an NBA Championship with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, and now O’Connell owns a small-but-meaningful piece of Bud.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by