MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday they’re honoring the lift of Bud Grant throughout the 2023 season with a jersey patch and helmet decal.
Vikings owner Mark Wilf made the announcement before the team held a night practice at TCO Stadium. It’s the team’s last workout before they travel to Seattle for their first preseason game Thursday night. They’ll wear the jersey patch and helmet decal starting Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sept. 10 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Grant died back in March at the age of 95.
"No single individual defined Minnesota sports and the Minnesota Vikings brand than Coach Grant. It’s impossible to describe the impact that he’s had on the Vikings and the community. As owners, we cherished the nearly 18 years with Bud."
Grant spent 18 seasons as the Vikings’ head coach, from 1967-83 and 1985, and led the franchise to four Super Bowl appearances and 11 division titles. He’s also been a consultant for the Vikings since 1986.
Grant was the NFL Coach of the Year in 1969, is a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor and is also on the Vikings’ 25th and 40th anniversary teams. Grant is also one of the 50 Greatest Vikings.
In one of his more iconic moments after football, Grant came on the field at TCF Bank Stadium for the pregame coin toss as the Vikings hosted the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC Playoff game in 2016. Despite wind chills well below zero, Grant was on the field in a polo golf shirt and pants, embracing the bone-chilling conditions.
Grant had a career record of 168-105-5 as an NFL head coach, including a 10-12 mark in the postseason.
"It wasn’t always about football with him, it was a lot of life stories and leading and the way he carried himself. Lot of wisdom there, great family man and he loved the Minnesota Vikings," Wilf said.
MARK WILF NON-COMMITTAL ON KIRK COUSINS PAST 2023 SEASON
Wilf took questions from reporters after announcing the Bud Grant news, and one of them was about the Vikings' quarterback situation after the 2023 season. Kirk Cousins is eligible to become a free agent after being unable to work out an extension this offseason.
Cousins threw for more than 4,500 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions despite being sacked a career-high 46 times. Wilf was asked Tuesday how he felt about the team's quarterback situation.
"We feel great about the quarterback situation. Kirk is an outstanding leader, he’s led this team incredibly these past few years and we’re looking for great things in 2023. I know Kwesi and coach are always communicating with Kirk, but we’re real happy to have him lead our team," Wilf said.
When asked if he wants Cousins back next season, Wilf gave a non-committal answer. Cousins led the Vikings to their first division title in five seasons last year, but has just one playoff win in five years with the Vikings.
"We’ll leave that to Kwesi and coach to work through those discussions. There’s always conversations, but our real focus is 100 percent on 2023 and getting to where we need to be," Wilf said.
N'KEAL HARRY HIGHLIGHTS NIGHT PRACTICE
The Vikings held their second and final night practice of training camp in front of a capacity at TCO Stadium on Tuesday, and newly-signed receiver N'Keal Harry had the highlights for the night. The 2019 first round pick out of Arizona State made a pair of diving catches at the sideline while keeping both feet inbounds. He spent his first three seasons with the New England Patriots before making seven catches in seven games with the Chicago Bears last season.
The night ended with fireworks for the fans that stayed, and players came back on the field with their families to watch. The Vikings head to Seattle for their first preseason game on Thursday, and several starters are not expected to play.