Leslie Frazier (Brian Spurlock/USA Today)
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier sounded disappointed he didn’t get a long-term contract extension, but he is shifting his focus away from his contract and toward moving forward.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier was clearly disappointed that management didn’t offer him a long-term contract extension, but he didn’t want that to be the focus.
The Vikings last week announced that they picked up the fourth-year option on Frazier’s contract.
“Leslie has done an outstanding job here. He’s been a great leader of the men down in the locker room. We expect him to be our coach for a long time,” general manager Rick Spielman said last week. “He’s been outstanding at everything, from leadership to development of young players, everything we’re doing …
“There’s no question of the support that our ownership group, myself, I think our whole organization, has for Leslie Frazier.
After the season, Frazier said he expected to have discussions with the Wilf ownership group about an extension, but that never happened. The Vikings, instead, opted to execute the fourth year on his contract.
To hear Frazier tell it while trying to put the best face on the situation, he apparently knew of the decision before last week and it wasn’t the answer he was looking for. Now, however, he is looking to move forward.
“When Rick and management informed me of their decision, my focus shifted,” Frazier said Friday.
“The only thing for me is never change. My desire to win a championship overrides anything else. I’m not doing what I do for a contract. I’m not doing what I do for money. I want to bring a championship to Minnesota, period. So every decision I make, that’s what it’s based on and that’s what I’ve tried to get across to our players every week, every training camp, every day. I talk to them about the now, and I’ve said that to our management. Every decision we make is based on bringing a championship to Minnesota. If it’s for any other reason, we’re doing a disservice to our fans, a disservice to our players. So it’s got to be about what will help bring a championship to Minnesota, any decision that we make.”
In Frazier’s first full year as head coach, the Vikings went 3-13, but with new coordinators and no full offseason as the lockout of players rolled into late July, he was at a disadvantage. When the 2011 season arrived, the Vikings were replacing Brett Favre with Donovan McNabb, who ceded the starting position to then-rookie Christian Ponder only seven games into the campaign.
In 2012, with Ponder returning as his starter and the offense ignited with a strong early performance by Percy Harvin and an MVP-worthy second-half performance by Adrian Peterson, Frazier and company went 10-6 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Another playoff season in 2013 and Frazier will likely get his long-term extension, but for now he is under contract through 2014. That holds true with his assistants, too, he said.
“Our coaches have always operated on rollover contracts and they are again,” he said.
The Vikings’ coaching staff will stay largely intact from 2012 to 2103, but they did lose assistant special teams coach Chris White to the University of Iowa. White will be the Hawkeyes’ running backs coach.
Frazier said the Vikings may replace White internally.
“I’m thinking through that a little bit. We may just do something internally. We’ll move some things around and determine it when I get back,” he said.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.