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Coach Frazier Sent Packing, But In The Best Way Possible

In today’s society and culture, consumer’s seem to crave drama, and are willing to pay good money to see it unfold.  Whether it is our television programming, political races, or professional sports we collectively want to see one human essentially do battle with another.  Today, Leslie Frazier’s departure from Minnesota likely left a few NFL consumer’s unsatisfied, and when the purple history books are written his firing will be as forgettable as his three seasons as the team’s head coach.

Frazier is widely respected within NFL circles.  Since stepping out of the shadows and into his prominent role, Percy Harvin sticks out as the only person with first hand experience that seemed unappreciative of Frazier as a man, and even that observation is pure speculation and lacks concrete evidence.

Instead, Leslie Frazier left Winter Park shaking hands with those he knew and looked as dignified as ever.  When he got in his car, if he chose to turn on his radio, he likely heard quote after quote about how loved he is by his current and former players.  He probably noticed some local and national media members talk about how they never dealt with a head coach as classy as he is.  He surely heard the statements released by his former employers that included almost nothing but respectful endorsements of Frazier’s character.

Frazier himself, as could only be expected, exited his position with grace and composure by all accounts.  His words included only the most subtle hints at disagreements and dysfunction within the organization.  The organization, most notably Rick Spielman, also poked back a little bit to make clear that Frazier made decisions that led to his demise and that they are fully ready to start another chapter.

That was, and is, the extent of the drama with Leslie Frazier at the helm.  He didn’t win enough football games.  He didn’t make enough brilliant calls.  He couldn’t get enough out of some of his players.  He couldn’t make things click at the right times.  He did, however, run the Childress Circus out of town and replaced it with an overall sense of coolness.

In some circles, there are folks rolling their eyes at the “pity party” that ensued following the news of Frazier’s departure, but I think to get annoyed is to miss the point.  Few argue that Frazier should have been retained, or that he did enough to keep his job, but almost everyone is willing to let the man walk away with his dignity and his personal pride.

In the last few weeks we have seen an NFC North coach curse out his hometown fans.  We’ve seen a midwest team fire a coach that was able to make a respectable run with perhaps the only quarterback situation worse than Minnesota’s.  We’ve seen hundreds of reporters flock to the Nation’s capitol to watch a father and his son lose their jobs.  We’ve seen plenty of things that will steal all of the headlines while the Vikings quietly move on to evaluating their options.

The coaching search sounds like it will be extensive and time-consuming.  We will have lots of fun sifting through all of the options and all of the rumors.  We will debate who is the best fit, what each candidate brings to the table, and we will all hope the future is bright.  There is plenty of time for that.

Right now, though, I am still processing the events that have taken place since yesterday’s win closed out the Metrodome one final time.  I’m certainly not crying about it all, it is no “pity party” on this end of your computer screen, but there is no doubt that this firing doesn’t entirely feel right.

The way Frazier’s career with the Vikings has ended, the manner in which it all took place, is perhaps the most shining example of why he shouldn’t be out of work for long if he chooses.  The respectful quietness also makes me wonder if this decision won’t eventually end up looking like one of Rick Spielman’s worst.

Good luck, Leslie… from one Vikings fan with a computer.


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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. Very well said Adam. I think you’re getting better at this.
    Hope that Ricky picks his coaches better than he chooses his QB’s.

    1. Getting better at writing about disappointing ends to Vikings eras? Uh oh.

      🙂 Thanks CC

  2. Make that at least two fans with computers, Adam. I knew you would come through with something like this, and figured that time only meant you were weighing words very thoughtfully. I know there are people who are happy with this decision, and I respect that, but I think most would wish a better fate for a man like Leslie. You put it very well, and I admire your perspective. Thanks.

    1. Actually, Bud, I was absent in the truest sense. Had a chance I couldn’t pass up to reunite with some friends from Alaska on Sunday and just had to invest that time. Then, well… work. Sorry for the late perspective and thanks for the kind words.

    1. Wouldn’t at all be surprised if we run a 3-4 defense from now on. The roster is arguably better built for it. I’ll post on that idea soon.

  3. Nice guys finish last. I felt bad for him, too. We all have disapointments, just not on TV. I expect Spielman to do something good. I’m just a guy with a computer and an expensive DTV bill and that coach and that QB had to go. I want to win. It was so obvious they couldn’t cut it. I thought Frazier was tight lipped all the time because he was under Spielmans rule. He just couldn’t tell the truth or call anyone out(Allen, Ponder,DC). Mike Ditka he wasn’t. It was his decisions. He was in over his head. He made alot of money, he’ll get another job. Now we’re going to get new coaches. I expect good things. Trade Peterson. Rebuild defense. Resign Toby, Feature Patterson like they’ve tried with Peterson, even at RB. Move on with Peterson before it’s too late, unless the OC is brilliant and can feature both. Running Peterson into the line 3 times has just got to stop. That Percy Harvin trade was AWESOME, btw.

    1. Paying customers… you are right PH, that is what it always comes back to, and rightfully so.

  4. I’ll echo what Coach said; Figured you were laying low, getting ready to pop a well written response to Leslie’s firing and you didn’t disappoint Adam. Nice piece.

    I also absolutely agree with Purplehelmet (Purplehelmet? Really? lol)
    Toby showed some pretty good play when he got the chance as did Asiata. This is a QB/WR league and we need to respond to that. We’ve got the WR’s, just get us a QB and head coach that can put a good game plan together, make game time adjustments when needed and we’ll be on our way to being a contender.

    At any rate, I wish Leslie Frazier only the best. He’ll land on his feet somewhere. If not, pretty sure he’s got a few mil. tucked away to tide him over.

    1. Hi Fran. How’s AK? Still there? I can’t remember, how’s the weather in… say… May? Maybe I’ll just jaunt up there for some Arctic Roadrunners with ya.

      1. May? Really, May?
        You’ve been gone so long you’ve forgotten that the lakes are still frozen, no salmon in the rivers and it’s till almost winter up here in May?

        Get a hold of yourself Man!
        AUGUST, that’s the time;. Silvers are running, Ptarmigan season begins and it’s WARM up here.

  5. I beginning to think it is time to trade AD. The team seemed to play better when he was out. But maybe a new OC will change things.

    1. They played better because they actually used this thing called a game plan: instead of just running Peterson every first abs second down the passing incomplete or running again on third.

    2. I still don’t think the time has come where that fully makes sense…. but I am starting to think we are getting closer to the time coming where that makes sense. How’s that for a Spielman-style answer!

    3. I didn’t watch the final game until Monday night, but I did watch it. And I have to say, that offense looked pretty miserable with AD out of the lineup, save for a few splash plays from Patterson. I’m not sure what I missed here, but I don’t think their 14 points against that D was very impressive at all.

  6. There is an interesting list of QB’s NOT in the playoffs this year… Ben Rothlisberger, E. Manning, Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, R Griffin III. It appears a team needs more than just an established QB to win. And interestingly enough, the Vikes ranked higher in scoring (14th) than 6 of those 9 “established” QBs’ teams. Nobody goes anywhere with the 31st ranked defense. Maybe Leslie and Co. got more out of this offense than anyone had a right to expect. And we’re talking about a schedule that included 6 games against division champions. Yeah, we need to fix the QB position, but the defense as a whole is an even bigger priority.