Hall of Fame Head Coach Bud Grant — the only man to ever play in the NFL and NBA — was able to take-in the action of Monday’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game from the Vikings Ownership Suite at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Grant joined Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman. It was the third Final Four held in Minnesota (1992, 2001), first at U.S. Bank Stadium and first to be attended by the former three-sport star at the University of Minnesota.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press caught up with Grant, who will turn 92 next month, to get his thoughts on being one of more than 72,000 in attendance.
When Bud Grant saw the massive hanging scoreboard that was brought in for the Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium, he thought back to playing 70 years ago for the Minneapolis Lakers.
“To get 72,000 people in there for basketball, it’s a marvel,” Grant told Tomasson Tuesday in a phone interview. “It’s an event, and I’m not even talking about the game. Just the stadium and the atmosphere and the crowd, I thought they did an excellent job.”
Grant played two seasons for the NBA’s Lakers (1949-51) and two seasons for the NFL’s Eagles (1951-52). He coached the Vikings from 1967-83 and in 1985.
Grant told Tomasson he liked the energy that the student sections for Virginia and Texas Tech created from just beyond the end lines of the elevated court.
“Those students are up on their feet the whole game, and they never sat down,” Grant said. “So that enthusiasm of the millennials, if that’s the right word, is much greater than at a professional game. They bring a lot of enthusiasm, those kids do, and I think that creates the atmosphere of those games.”
Tomasson also asked Grant about his annual garage sale, which is moving from May this year to June 5-7.
Although the days are changing, Grant kept with another sort of tradition, telling Tomasson, “It’ll be the biggest and the best.”
23 prospects to attend 2019 NFL Draft
The NFL announced Tuesday that 23 draft-eligible prospects are scheduled to attend the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville.
Will one be a future Viking?
A total of 17 colleges will be represented. Alabama and Oklahoma each have three former players that will be joining the spring episode of NFL reality television.
The following players are scheduled to attend:
Alabama — RB Josh Jacobs, T Jonah Williams and DT Quinnen Williams
Oklahoma — WR Marquise Brown and QB Kyler Murray
Iowa — TE Noah Fant and TE T.J. Hockenson
LSU — LB Devin White and CB Greedy Williams
Kentucky — LB Josh Allen
Georgia — DB DeAndre Baker
Ohio State — DE Nick Bosa
Florida State — DE Brian Burns
Michigan — LB Devin Bush
Washington State — T Andre Dillard
Duke — QB Daniel Jones
Missouri — QB Drew Lock
Mississippi — WR D.K. Metcalf
Houston — DT Ed Oliver
Mississippi State — DE Montez Sweat
Florida — T Jawaan Taylor
Clemson — DT Christian Wilkins
This will be the first time for the draft to be held in the state of Tennessee. The three-day even begins on April 25. The second and third rounds will follow on April 26, and the final four rounds will be held on April 27.