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A fitting day for 'Bud Grant Way'

By Michael Rand Minneapolis Star Tribune The first day of December, with the temperature hovering in single digits, wouldn't have been an apt setting for many outdoor news conferences, but for this one -- commemorating a stretch of road near the ...

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By Michael Rand

Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

The first day of December, with the temperature hovering in single digits, wouldn’t have been an apt setting for many outdoor news conferences, but for this one - commemorating a stretch of road near the Vikings’ under-construction stadium that is now called “Bud Grant Way” - it was undeniably perfect.

Grant, the Vikings coach who was as legendary for embracing the elements as he was for leading his teams to the only four Super Bowls in franchise history, took the stage wearing a heavy coat and an NFL helmet logos tie that must be decades old - but no gloves and just a Vikings cap that didn’t even cover his ears.

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Flanked by several of his former players, scores of family members, including 6-month-old great-granddaughter Brooke, the youngest member of the Grant clan, and a smattering of fans who alternated between claps and shivers, Grant expressed his gratitude for the honor.

“It’s a unique honor to be here today,” he said. “It’s been a long road.”

Bud Grant Way is now the stretch on 9th Avenue between 6th Street and 7th Street that was previously known as Carew Drive. With the Twins moved to the other end of downtown Minneapolis and the Vikings set to open their new stadium in 2016 (construction cranes were working during the 45-minute ceremony), the time was right to honor Grant.

“It’s just proper today, to have something like this that will last forever,” former Vikings great Jim Marshall said.

Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf also heaped praise on Grant, while his son, Mike, head coach of Eden Prairie’s high school football dynasty, talked about family.

“He’s not coach to me. He’s Dad,” Mike Grant said. “It’s going to be an honor for our generations after us to be able to ... come and see that name, Bud Grant, on this road.”

Bud Grant, after hearing all the platitudes, joked, “After listening to all these people, I’m going to announce right now that I’m going to come back and be coach again. I didn’t realize how great I was.” He concluded his speech by saying, “I’ll make one guarantee. With this regime, this ownership and this coaching staff, we will get to the Super Bowl.”

With that, Grant made his way over to a covered up street sign. He then performed the honor of revealing “Bud Grant Way” on the sign.

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“His way was to eliminate mistakes, make sure each person was doing as much as they could do and were in the right position to be great,” Marshall said.

 

- Copyright (c) 2014, the Minneapolis Star Tribune/Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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