Re: Article is a bit light on facts.
VAX FORTRAN may have been standard, but the VAX floating-point representation was decidedly strange. There were four different formats and all of them had the exponent in the middle of the word with the mantissa wrapped around it. I believe the aim was some level of compatibility with earlier generations of DEC hardware.
https://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nssdc/formats/VAXFloatingPoint.htm for the gory details.