Posted December 30, 2013

Leslie Frazier fired by Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings, NFC North

Leslie Frazier didn't do enough to keep his place in Minnesota.

Leslie Frazier didn’t do enough to keep his place in Minnesota. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)

In perhaps the least surprising head coach firing of 2013, the Minnesota Vikings started Black Monday by parting ways with Leslie Frazier. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network was among the first with the news.

“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings,” Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “He stepped in and established a strong positive culture here and he has been the consummate professional as our head coach and in this community. Making this change is difficult, but what we determined is best for the organization.”

“Unfortunately, we did not achieve consistent success and did not achieve the progress we expected,” general manager Rick Spielman added. “We believe a coaching change is needed to help build a successful team moving forward.”

Frazier took over as interim head coach for Brad Childress in 2010 and went 3-3 that season. His best campaign came in 2012, when Minnesota went 10-6 and made the playoffs. Other than that, there’s been a lot of roster attrition and rebuilding, as the Vikings tried to find the quarterback that could take them to the next level. They will continue that process without Frazier, the former NFL defensive back and longtime defensive coach.

• Tale of the Tape: 5-10-1 in 2013; 21-32-1 in the regular season over four years and three full seasons; 0-1 in the postseason.

BLACK MONDAY TRACKER: Updates on latest firings, rumors

• What Went Wrong: The Vikings never found their franchise quarterback during Frazier’s tenure, and that was the biggest part of his downfall. They tried with Florida State’s Christian Ponder in the first round of the 2011 draft, but he was simply too limited. Veteran Matt Cassel was decent enough, but hardly an overwhelming talent. The Vikings picked Josh Freeman up off the scrap heap and inexplicably gave him $3 million to start one game, play terribly and sit on the bench the rest of the season after Freeman was released from Tampa Bay.

In addition, Frazier and Spielman were unable to re-frame Minnesota’s formerly impressive defense. The secondary has been singularly unimpressive, young pass-rushers have been hard to find outside of Brian Robison, and Frazier’s adherence to Cover-2 and Tampa-2 principles at the expense of the flexibility demanded by today’s NFL probably sealed his fate. Basically, without Adrian Peterson rushing for over 2,000 yards in 2012, Frazier’s coaching tenure would be almost completely unremarkable. It was time for a change.

• Roster Outlook: The Vikings clearly need that franchise quarterback, and they’ll have a high pick to find one. Peterson seems to have superhuman regenerative powers, the offensive line is pretty solid and Cordarrelle Patterson showed enough as a rookie receiver to get people really excited.

The defense is the problem. Jared Allen may be gone, the linebackers are not world-class in a general sense (Chad Greenway makes a lot of plays on both sides of the good/bad ledger) and the cornerbacks are among the worst in the league, rookie Xavier Rhodes excepted. The team needs new schematic ideas on both sides of the ball, and the kind of players able to make a real difference around a few freakishly talented cogs.

• Possible Replacment(s): Darrell Bevell, James Franklin, Kevin Sumlin. The Vikings are said to prefer a college coach, perhaps to assist in future drafts.

13 comments
Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Mike Shanahan is looking for work. Or Greg Schiano. 

Hedley
Hedley

How about Norv Turner in Minnie

PaulKelly
PaulKelly

No one named Leslie should be an NFL head coach. 

Kalzy
Kalzy

It was a poor move

x72
x72

Hire Marty Schottenheimer and create a dynasty, he'd have a field day against the weak competition in that division.

x72
x72

Down goes Frazier!!!

6marK6
6marK6

They were competitive and played hard. Got to think that if they had committed to Matt Cassell early on they would have had a few more wins. Not a bad situation to inherit for a new coach.

DaveSnell
DaveSnell

As much as I've been bashing on Frazier for the past couple seasons I don't believe all the blame lies with him or his staff, as inept as they were. Speilman deserves at least half the blame for the failure of this team. No way can a coach with no power pull all the strings.

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

The good thing about the packers making the playoffs is that it should buy mccarthy and capers more time. Inept coaches bailed out by some miserable performances by the bears and cowboys.

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Good fire. Unload the entire coaching staff, sure was a mess. Not as bad as the Lions but still pretty bad.

radioactivez0r
radioactivez0r

I think the only reason Musgrave might keep his job is due to them finally finding some creative ways to get Patterson the ball, but otherwise I thought his play calling was terrible.  At some point this team needs to do something to make AP's big contract worth the investment in something other than ticket sales.