Vick first came to prominence while at Homer L. Ferguson High School in Newport News. As a freshman, he impressed many with his athletic ability; he threw for over 400 yards in a game that year. Ferguson High School was closed in 1996 as part of a Newport News Public Schools building modernization program. Vick, as a sophomore, and coach Tommy Reamon both moved to Warwick High School.
Reamon, who had helped guide Brooks from Newport News to the University of Virginia, helped Michael with his SATs and helped him and his family choose between Syracuse University and Virginia Tech. Reamon favored Virginia Tech, where he felt better guidance was available under Frank Beamer, who promised to redshirt him and provide the freshman needed time to develop. Reamon sold Michael on the school's proximity to family and friends, and Vick chose to attend Virginia Tech. As he left the Newport News public housing projects in 1998 with a college football scholarship in hand, Vick was seen in the Newport News community as a success story.
Vick led the NCAA in passing efficiency in 1999, a record for a freshman (180.4) and the third-highest all-time mark. Vick won both an ESPY Award as the nation's top college player and the first-ever Archie Griffin Award as college football's most valuable player. He was invited to the 1999 Heisman Trophy presentation and finished third in the voting behind Ron Dayne and Joe Hamilton. Vick's third-place finish matched the highest finish ever by a freshman up to that point, first set by Herschel Walker in 1980.
One highlight of Vick's 2000 season was his career high rushing total of 210 yards against Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Against West Virginia University in the Black Diamond Trophy game, Vick accounted for 288 total yards of offense and two touchdowns in a 48–20 win. The following week, Vick led the Hokies back from a 14–0 deficit to beat Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, where the Hokies had not won since 1986. Vick put the game away with a 55-yard run with 1:34 left.
Joel Enterprises of Richmond was listed as one of Vick's larger creditors. Sports agents Andrew Joel and Dave Lowman claimed Vick signed a contract with their firm in 2001, nine days before he announced he was leaving Virginia Tech early and declaring himself eligible for the NFL Draft. With his mother as a witness, Vick signed a five-year marketing agreement that anticipated a wide range of endorsement activities using Vick's name, likeness, voice, and reputation. Joel's cut was 25% of all deals, excluding Vick's NFL contract, according to the agreement. Vick attempted to end the relationship with Joel Enterprises a few weeks later, and entered into another relationship with other agents. In 2005, Joel Enterprises sued Vick in Richmond Circuit Court for $45 million in compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract. After the Virginia Supreme Court denied a Vick motion and ruled that the civil trial could proceed in December 2006, the parties agreed to submit the dispute to binding arbitration for resolution instead of a formal civil court trial. The outcome of the case was an award of $4.5 million to Joel.
Vick suffered a fractured right fibula during a preseason game before the 2003 season against the Baltimore Ravens. He missed the first 11 games of the regular season, making his debut in week 13. Vick substituted for quarterback Doug Johnson in the third quarter of a game against the Houston Texans on November 30, completing 8 of 11 passes for 60 yards and rushing for 16 yards on three carries. He started his first game of the season against the Carolina Panthers on December 7 and amassed the third-highest rushing total by a quarterback in NFL history with 141 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown. The Falcons won the game 21–14. Vick ended the season with a 21–14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 28 in which he completed 12 of 22 passes for 180 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
On August 27, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said at a press conference that the Falcons would seek to recover a portion of Vick's signing bonus. He said the team had no immediate plans to cut ties with Vick, citing salary-cap issues. It initially appeared that Goodell had cleared the way for the Falcons to release Vick, since he ruled that Vick's involvement in gambling activity breached his contract. On August 29, the Falcons sent a letter to Vick demanding that he reimburse them for $20 million of his $37 million bonus. The case was sent to arbitration, and on October 10, an arbitrator ruled that Vick had to reimburse the Falcons for $19.97 million. The arbitrator agreed with the Falcons' contention that Vick knew he was engaging in illegal activity when he signed his new contract in 2004, and that he had used the bonus money to pay for the operation.
Vick made his third Pro Bowl after the 2005 season, during which he passed for 2,412 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 597 rushing yards and six more touchdowns. The Falcons, however, finished with an 8–8 record and missed the playoffs.
Vick has been a principal in two charitable foundations, the Michael Vick Foundation and The Vick Foundation. In June 2006, Vick, along with his brother Marcus and mother Brenda, established The Vick Foundation, a nonprofit organization to support at-risk youth with after-school programs in the Metro Atlanta and Hampton Roads areas. The announcement of the new organization came just before the start of the foundation's first fundraiser, the Michael Vick Golf Classic. The inaugural event was held at the prestigious Kingsmill Golf Course in James City County near Williamsburg, Virginia in partnership with The Virginia Tech Alumni Association Tidewater Chapter, and raised more than $80,000 for charity. According to its 2006 federal tax return, the Michael Vick Foundation provided 100 backpacks to poor children in Newport News and paid for an after-school program. The foundation spent 12% of its 2006 budget – $20,590 of $171,823 – on charitable programs and paid its fundraiser, Susan Bass Roberts, a former spokeswoman for Vick, $97,000. The foundation ceased operations that year. One of Vick's financial advisors withdrew $50,000 – most of the remaining funds – from its checking account in 2008.
In June 2007, the "Michael Vick Football Camp," to be held at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, was canceled for the summer. Vick canceled participation in another football camp to be held at the College of william and Mary and was replaced by Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell. On June 22, 2007, a charity golf tournament featuring Vick that was intended in part to raise scholarships in memory of Virginia Tech's shooting victims was rescheduled for September.
Vick's attorneys filed a first plan of reorganization through bankruptcy on November 12, 2008. Under the plan, Vick was to sell three of his six homes. Vick's expenses, meanwhile, included support payments of approximately $30,000 a month. They included $14,531 a month to his mother, $12,363 a month to his fiancée and two daughters, and $3,500 a month to Taylor. Creditors challenged Vick's spending plan given his loss of salary and suspension from the NFL. Vick's attorneys told the judge on November 13 that Vick "has every reason to believe that upon his release, he will be reinstated into the NFL, resume his career and be able to earn a substantial living."
After creditors objected to the initial reorganization plan, Vick appeared in person before Santoro at a hearing in Newport News on April 2, 2009. Santoro had decided not to allow testimony by video in March, saying he needed Vick in the courtroom to assess his demeanor and credibility. Vick testified that he intended to live a better life after prison. He said his crime was "heinous" and he felt "true remorse." Near the end of the hearing, Santoro rejected the plan as unsound, saying that it was too strongly predicated on Vick's return to the NFL and the substantial projected income it would bring, neither of which was assured.
On April 28, attorneys met with Santoro and said they made substantial progress on a revised plan. They reported having settled all disputes with Vick's creditors, including Joel. On August 27, Santoro approved the revised reorganization plan. It was supported by all of Vick's creditors but one who was owed $13,000. Every creditor was to be paid back in six years on the condition that an estimated $9 million in assets be liquidated. Vick was allowed annual living expenses of $300,000 under the plan. He could spend up to $3,500 a month for rent in Philadelphia and $750 for "utilities and Miscellaneous." He was to pay $3,712 a month on the mortgage for his house in Hampton, Virginia, where his fiancée and two children lived, and could pay up to $1,355 per month in private school tuition for his children. Vick was also given up to $472 a month in car-related expenses. His mother was allowed $2,500 per month, and his former girlfriend Tameka Taylor was allotted $3,000 per month to support their son, Mitez. Vick was not required to pay creditors during his first season with the Eagles. Vick paid his agent, Joel Segal, $32,500 in 2010, $104,000 in 2011, and would pay him $160,000 each year from 2012–2015 for a total of $776,500. He paid bankruptcy lawyers $748,750 in 2010, $1 million in 2011, and a total of $2.6 million.
Even before the animal cruelty case surfaced in 2007, however, Vick's corporate status had deteriorated. Among the negative incidents was his middle finger gesture to Atlanta football fans in 2006. Vick's first endorsement after being released from prison was a two-year deal on January 27, 2011 with Unequal Technologies, a company that produces football pads. Nike officially signed Vick again as an athlete on July 1, 2011. The company had been supplying him with complimentary gear since October 2009; his re-signing marked the first time a sponsor had brought back an athlete after dropping him.
In 2012, Vick launched a Sports clothing line called V7 to be sold exclusively at Modell's. Part of the proceeds was to go to the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia.
By August 20, Vick and the other three co-defendants agreed to separate plea bargains for the federal charges. They were expected to each receive federal prison sentences of between one and five years. Four days later, Vick filed plea documents with the federal court. He pleaded guilty to "Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture". Vick admitted to providing most of the financing for the operation, and to participating directly in several dog fights in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. He admitted to sharing in the proceeds from these dog fights. He further admitted that he knew his colleagues killed several dogs who did not perform well. He admitted to being involved in the destruction of 6–8 dogs, by hanging or drowning. The "victimization and killing of pit bulls" was considered an aggravating circumstance, allowing prosecutors to exceed the federal sentencing guidelines for the charge. Vick denied placing any side bets on the dogfights. On August 27, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson accepted Vick's guilty plea, but reminded Vick that he (Hudson) was under no obligation to accept the prosecution's recommendation of a reduced sentence.
Vick signed a one-year $5 million contract with the New York Jets on March 21, 2014, the same day the Jets released Mark Sanchez. The Eagles signed Sanchez one week later.
On August 25, 2015, Vick signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers worth $970,000. With Ben Roethlisberger wearing #7 and #1 being unofficially retired for Gary Anderson, Vick wore #2.
During their 2017 training camp, Vick joined his former coach Andy Reid as a coaching intern with the Kansas City Chiefs.