The Vikings offered Bud Grant the chance to replace Mike Tice as coach less than a decade ago but wouldn’t pay the Pro Football Hall of Fame member what he wanted, Grant wrote in his new book, “I Did It My Way.”
Then-Vikings owner Red McCombs telephoned Grant “well into” an up-and-down season to see if he was interested in the job, Grant wrote in a book co-authored by Jim Bruton. The season was identified as 2005, but Grant likely meant 2004, because new owner Zygi Wilf’s first season was 2005. Grant also wrote that the Vikings had gone 9-7 in 2004 and McCombs confirmed Monday afternoon that he did ask Grant on several occasions what it would take for him to return as a coach.
“I would have been delighted if he had worked in a coaching position,” McCombs said. “But I never gathered that was something he wanted to do.”
In his book, though, Grant made clear that he was interested late in 2004.
Grant told McCombs no at first, according to the book. But when McCombs called again in December, saying the Vikings would fire Tice after the next game, which was at Detroit, Grant said he would consider it.
McCombs and then-Vikings executive Gary Woods offered about $150,000 per game, Grant wrote, but Grant wanted $1 less than what the NFL’s highest-paid coach at the time made.
The Vikings’ counteroffer “wasn’t even close,” Grant wrote, and the deal was off.
“I would have come back,” wrote Grant, who already had two stints as Vikings coach (1967-83 and 1985). “I thought the Vikings had a pretty good team, and returning to coaching was kind of an exciting thought. …. It certainly would have been exciting to do at 78 years old.”