Nick Guse hasn’t been a Minnesota Vikings fan his entire life. He said it’s been about seven years.
But the 41-year-old Fargo man said he wasn’t going to pass up a chance at meeting legendary former Vikings coach Bud Grant and have him autograph a miniature Vikings helmet.
“That’ll finish the helmet,” said Guse after Grant signed the replica that was already sealed with the names of several former Vikings players who played during the 18 seasons Grant coached the team.
“It’s always fun to finish something up,” Guse said.
The 78-year-old retired coach, who led the Vikings to four trips to the Super Bowl in the 1960s and 1970s, signed autographs and met several fans at the Link Recreational boat liquidation sale Saturday at the Fargo Civic Center Centennial Hall.
Always willing to stay in touch with fans, Grant has been working hard advocating the construction of a new Vikings stadium in Blaine, Minn.
“Our fans are putting up with an inferior stadium,” Grant said. “If we are going to compete in this generation, it’s a necessity.”
When asked what the latest stadium news was, Grant responded candidly.
“I don’t know, I haven’t listened to the radio in the last hour,” he said.
The Vikings keep an office for Grant at their Winter Park Training Facility in Eden Prairie, Minn.
Although he believes the team has taken the right steps lately, Grant is still very neutral when asked about new head coach Brad Childress. But he’s quick to offer owner Zygi Wilf some words of advice.
“He’s working hard on the stadium and he’s working hard to sign free agents,” Grant said of Wilf. “But you’re limited. You’ve got to work within certain parameters that don’t apply to business. They can’t run a football team like they run a business.”
Two fans, Ruse Crume and his daughter Lily, received an autograph from Grant and came back later and spoke face-to-face with the former coach for about five minutes.
“It was fun to see him and get a chance to chat with him,” said Crume, who bought his daughter a football to have Grant sign.
Aside from signing autographs, Grant also sold prints of nature paintings he had originally sketched.
He joked that he isn’t much of a painter and collaborates with friends who bring out color in his sketches through shadows and perspective.
“Otherwise, it’d look like a hatchet job,” Grant said.