After leaving the University of Minnesota in 1949, he first played professional basketball with the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers. He was selected in the first round of the NFL's college draft in 1950 by the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1953 Bud Grant signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. He played for that team until 1956 when he was made head coach of the team. He would remain the head coach of the Blue Bombers until 1966. He lead the team to the Grey Cup, six years and the Bombers won four titles.
Grant was named the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 1967. In his second year, he lead the team to a divisional championship. In 1969, he lead the team to its first NFL Championship and their first appearance in the Super Bowl. The team lost that game to the American Football League champions Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings would appear in 3 more Super Bowls under Grant and lose each one. However he was the first coach to coach in four Super Bowls. Grant's team won 11 divisional championships between 1968 and 1980. Bud Grant retired after the 1983 season. He returned as coach for the Vikings in 1985 and than retired for a second time.