A few days after the Vikings' 27-10 victory over the Giants on Oct. 10, there was a joyful noise on the set at the taping of The Dennis Green Show in Minneapolis. When the Vikings win. Green climbs in behind the drums and cuts loose on a few tunes with the band. But after a loss he refuses to play. "It's like a statement: Things didn't go the way we wanted," Green says. "But if we get it right the next week, I'm back there again."
Green is no amateur. In June he played two performances on percussion with the Minnesota Orchestra, and he plays on an album of modern jazz songs due out before Christmas, called Sunset Celebration, which he helped produce. He even keeps a seven-piece drum set in a meeting room at Viking headquarters and works himself into a lather on it about twice a week.
So far, he says, no one has complained. "I think the players like that their coach has a life outside football, because that way, when I ask them to do something, they know I'm not just asking them to do it because I have no life." Green says.
Green's appreciation for music comes from his father, Bus, who insisted that each of his five sons play an instrument. At their home in Harrisburg, Pa., the Green brothers would gather on the porch and play their instruments and sing doo-wop into glass jars, pretending they were onstage. "My father knew we loved sports, but he wanted us to enjoy music, too," Green says.
Recently the Viking coach donated $5,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Minneapolis to start the Bus Green Music Team, a program designed to provide underprivileged kids with musical instruments, lessons and a place to practice. "Everyone knows sports offers opportunities for accomplishment." says Green, "because the accomplishments are so obvious. But the opportunity is there with music as well."
When not coaching, the Vikings' Green likes to snare time for his hobby.