In Support of Leslie Frazier
There are four teams left in the playoffs. I, like pretty much all Vikings fans, hope that the Packers lose promptly and decisively. After this happens, though, what is left for Vikings fans to cheer for? Far be it from me to tell all of Vikings fandom what they ought to do, but let me make a humble suggestion: throw your support behind former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier.
Leslie Frazier, former Minnesota Vikings HC
Things ended poorly with Frazier. From 2010-13, Frazier accumulated an uninspiring .398 winning percentage. In Frazier’s final season, the Vikings were a paltry 5-10-1. We finished in last place in the NFC North. Fans who haven’t totally repressed their painful memories may recall the Matt Cassel–Christian Ponder–Josh Freeman three-headed monster at QB. Frazier was the man in charge, so he certainly deserves some blame. That being said, how much can we really blame a guy for not winning with that QB situation?
The initial reports were that Minnesota was interested in Jack Del Rio (dodged a bullet) and Adam Gase (lol). Thankfully, Minnesota hired Mike Zimmer instead. A large part of Zimmer’s appeal was that he was so different from Frazier.
In the aftermath of Frazier’s firing, here’s one thing that stands out, though: his integrity. Dude is all class. As ESPN reported, “Frazier talked with the team in what players termed an emotional meeting Monday morning, letting them know they could contact him if they ever needed anything.”
Former Vikings LB (and current Brawl Network podcast co-host) Erin Henderson spoke about Frazier’s impact in his life: “I’m sure he’s probably got all kinds of stuff coming today, but I think it’s important he knows how I really feel and how much I appreciate all he’s done for me in all six years I have been here.” Adrian Peterson – who, at that time, was the franchise player – apparently offered his support for Frazier to the ownership.
Jared Allen was similarly effusive in his praise: “Coach Frazier worked our butts off. Coach Frazier wasn’t always just smiles and everything like that. But he’s a good human being. That’s the important thing. I’ll always remember what Coach Frazier did for me off the field. He helped me grow as a man, and for that, I’ll always be thankful.”
Need more reason to support Frazier? No problem. Frazier is not only a good man, someone who possesses an uncommon degree of integrity and character in the NFL world. Nay, he is also a great coach. His defense is playing great:
How many teams held Lamar Jackson and his Ravens to 3 points this year? If you guessed zero, you’d be correct. In fact, the Ravens were never held to a single-digit game all year. In eight games, they went for thirty or more points. It didn’t matter against Buffalo.
Frankly, it’s disappointing that Frazier isn’t getting more consideration as a legit head coaching candidate. Things didn’t go well in Minnesota, but there are a lot of factors at play. Frazier navigated the QB waste land that was Brett Favre (2010 version), Donovan McNabb, Ponder, Freeman, etc. It’s time, NFL franchises; Frazier deserves another chance.
I can understand if some Minnesota Vikings fans don’t want to support Leslie Frazier and his Buffalo Bills. There is some lingering bitterness surrounding Stefon Diggs, and many don’t like to see another franchise get their SB before we do. Look at it this way, though: if the Bills can do it, so can the Vikings. Seeing the Bills have success should give us hope, especially since one of the best human beings in the NFL has been instrumental in their success.