Hall of Fame Vikings coach Bud Grant missed his HOF Super Bowl QB Fran Tarkenton’s latest book signing at the Eden Prairie Costco Saturday.

What animals was he off killing? “Ducks!” said his lady friend, Pat Smith, with a smile.

Smith got autographs in multiple copies of Tarkenton’s “The Power of Failure: Succeeding in the Age of Innovation,” and said Grant was on his way back from Manitoba. He was back in time to see the Vikings game with Tarkenton and watch Mick Tingelhoff get his Hall of Fame ring at halftime.

I teased Smith about sharing little kisses from Tarkenton. “Oh, he’s my all time idol, next to Bud.”

She was then required to rank them. “Bud 1, Fran 2,” Smith said smiling with all her teeth, one of the attributes that attracted Grant.

Tarkenton, the software company businessman, is worth $40 million, according to richestcelebrities.org.

I would’ve asked Tarkenton about that figure if I had stumbled on that claim before our interview. I didn’t hear the QB disagree when a Costco employee told Tarkenton he was on somebody’s list of the Top 10 wealthiest NFL QBs.

Before autographing books for fans, Tarkenton was telling Costco staffers in the office about one reason those Super Bowls ended in losses. “When I went to my first Super Bowl I was 34. Jim Marshall was 35. All of us were past our prime. We were past our prime and went to three Super Bowls in six years. Won six straight division championships and we were all in our mid to later 30s,” said Tarkenton. “If we all were together in our late 20s … oh, God.”

Attending all those Super Bowl losses was “Sir Sidney Hartman,” about whom Tarkenton wanted to share a story: “I flew up here on a prop airplane. You got off and you went down the steps. It was about 20 below zero, windchill of about 100 below zero and at the bottom of the steps with his microphone, in 1961 in February, was Sid Hartman. That’s the first time I met him. He’s a unique character. Love you, Sidney.”

There remains an air of excitement about Tarkenton, who is interesting probably because he’s a smart guy who is not preoccupied with being taken seriously. Some NFL broadcast outfit should do a video of Tarkenton describing the action in his 10 greatest displays of quarterback scrambling.

After we finished the interview (see startribune.com on Sunday), Tarkenton was complimentary: “That was uniquely different. That interview was a good one. You ask good questions.”

 

And baby makes Axyl

Congrats to Ashley and Adrian Peterson on the Sunday birth of baby Axyl.

By giving Adrian Peterson Jr.’s little brother the name Axyl, Peterson must really be cool about the only state where he has ever played for the NFL, even though he’d been feeling you-know about Minnesotans because of you-know.

According to nameberry.com Axel is “a popular Scandinavian form of the Biblical Absalom.” It is popular in Sweden, Germany and France, said the website, noting that Tiger Woods and Will Ferrell have given that name to sons.

By spelling the name Axyl, Peterson has found yet another way for media to get the details of his personal life wrong. I wish Mr. and Mrs. Peterson had just gone for broke and spelled the baby’s name Axyzl.

 

Papal audience in Mpls.?

Mary Jo Copeland made a pitch for Pope Francis to come to Minneapolis next time.

In a Sunday interview on MSNBC with Alex Witt, Copeland, the founder of “Sharing and Caring Hands,” said that when she got to meet the pontiff last week, “I said, ‘Pope Francis, Holy Father, if you would ever come back would you come to Sharing and Caring Hands and we could soak feet and you could help all the kids?’ He actually laughed and smiled. I think I’ll remember that always. You know what, Alex, I believe he could come here some day. I really do.”

 

C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on FOX 9’s “Jason Show.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.