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Bud Grant gave Kevin O’Connell a special gift

On March 11, legendary Vikings head coach Bud Grant passed away at the age of 95. It was a shocking loss for Minnesota and all of Vikings fandom, but he left behind a legacy that will go down in history.

It appears that legacy isn’t the only thing he left behind with current Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. After spending time with the Vikings on Wednesday, Albert Brier Sports Illustrated revealed that Grant gave O’Connell a very special gift before he died earlier this spring.

That gift was the tie Grant wore to his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1994. The tie, which featured the logos of every NFL team at the time, was placed inside a plaque that read “Coach to Coach.”

Legendary Vikings head coach Bud Grant has died at the age of 95
Dec 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant blows the whistle during the closing ceremony after the game against the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome. The Vikings beat the Lions 14-13. Mandatory credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Grant’s coaching career was the cornerstone of the franchise that the Vikings are today. He took a struggling expansion team and turned them into a perennial championship contender with some outstanding defenses. This included a Super Bowl appearance in his third year on the job and a total of four trips to the big game.

Unfortunately, of course, none of these teams made it past the Super Bowl and won the Super Bowl, but in 1969, Minnesota did win the NFL Championship, disproving the idea that the Vikings had never won a title.

January 11, 1970; New Orleans, Los Angeles, USA; FILE PHOTO; Minnesota Vikings head coach Bud Grant visits with commissioner Pete Rozelle before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs for Super Bowl IV at Tulane Stadium. The Chiefs beat the Vikings 23-7. Mandatory credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

At a celebration of Grant’s life last Sunday, O’Connell was one of many people who shared thoughts on what the former head coach means to them. “Although I haven’t known Bud personally for a long time, it has been one of the most impactful relationships I’ve had over the past year since being blessed to become the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.”

In his first season as the Vikings’ head coach, O’Connell put together a very impressive season, leading Minnesota to a 13-4 record and their first NFC North championship since 2017. It was the first time a Vikings head coach had won the division in their first year on the job since Dennis Green did it in 1992 and just the second time in franchise history.

Bud Grant gave Kevin O'Connell a special gift
September 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Now the head coach hopes to take even bigger steps in 2023 and beyond. The Vikings are still looking for their first Super Bowl appearance since Grant was the head coach, and perhaps he saw O’Connell as the man to get them there.

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Josh Frey is a 2020 graduate of the College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, playing or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account. @Freyed_Chicken.

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