May 18, 1936|
July 21, 2012 (aged 76)|
|1972||Memphis Pros (president)|
|1974||Minnesota Vikings (assistant to the owner)|
|1975–1990||Minnesota Vikings (executive vice president and general manager)|
|1990–1991||World League of American Football (president)|
|1990–1992||Minnesota Vikings (executive vice president)|
|1991–1992||Minnesota Vikings (minority owner)|
|Career highlights and awards|
1976 NFC Champions
Michael Lynn, III (May 18, 1936 – July 21, 2012) was an American football general manager and executive. He served as the general manager of the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings from 1975 to 1990.
Prior to a career in sports, Lynn managed movie theaters in Memphis, Tennessee. From 1966 to 1974 he was President of Mid South Sports, Inc., a group that sought to acquire a National Football League franchise for Memphis. Lynn also served as President of the Memphis Pros of the American Basketball Association in 1972.
In 1974, Lynn was hired by the Minnesota Vikings as an assistant to the owner. He was named general manager in 1975 by then Vikings owner Max Winter following the departure of GM Jim Finks. Lynn was GM when the Vikings went to one Super Bowl and four Division Championship during his first four years with the team. In 1989, thinking that the Vikings were a big-time running back away from being a great team, he dealt what eventually turned into 5 players and 8 draft picks to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for running back Herschel Walker. The three 1st round and three 2nd round picks eventually netted the Cowboys Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland and three Super Bowl rings. On the Vikings' side, Walker gained 148 yards rushing on 18 carries in his first game, but averaged less than 81 yards a game for the other 26 games.
In 1990, Lynn was named president of the World League of American Football. He resigned as Vikings general manager, but retained his position as executive vice president. Lynn resigned as WLAF president on August 3, 1991 after less than one year on the job.
Return to Vikings
In December 1991, a group aligned with Lynn purchased the shares of feuding Vikings minority partners Irwin L. Jacobs and Carl Pohlad. Two months later his 10% stake in the team was purchased by the club's nine other partners.
He died July 21, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee, leaving behind his wife Jorja and four children.
- "Memphis-area obituaries: July 24, 2012". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- AP (May 21, 1972). "Pro Football Expansion Hopefuls Join Hands". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- AP (May 7, 1974). "Memphis Votes for Toronto". The Robesonian. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- AP (April 18, 1972). "Squeeze on Pro Sports In Tennessee". Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Hartman: Mike Lynn's legacy was complicated". StarTribune.com. 1991-12-16. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings - October 15th, 1989". Pro-Football-Reference.com. 1989-10-15. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Herschel Walker NFL Football Statistics". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Vikings Name New Boss". The Washington Times. October 30, 1990.
- Morrissey, Rick (August 4, 1991). "Lynn's WLAF Departure Stirs Speculation Over His Vikings Role". The Rocky Mountain News.
- The Associated Press (December 17, 1991). "Two part owners of Vikings to Sell". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Lynn, Vikings Part Company". Ludington Daily News. February 27, 1992. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
| World League of American Football President