Leslie Frazier (Getty/Pete Jasienski)
The Vikings again are spending the start of their offseason wondering if their defensive coordinator will be returning for the following year, as Leslie Frazier is on a short list of candidates interviewing for the Miami Dolphins head coaching job.
For a second straight year, the Vikings organization finds itself playing the waiting game as its defensive coordinator talks to another suitor about taking a better position as an NFL head coach. A year ago, it was Mike Tomlin, who landed the Steelers' head coaching job. While it came as a surprise to many fans, it didn’t come as any kind of a shock to head coach Brad Childress, who said afterward that he knew that Tomlin was one of the fast-rising assistant coaches that was destined to make it to the top.
This time around, it’s defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who replaced Tomlin after being signed away as the defensive backs coach of the Colts. Frazier is in Miami today to meet with Bill Parcells and new general manager Jeff Ireland to discuss the position, but, unlike Tomlin, Frazier’s odds of getting the job are likely much less than 50-50.
The reasons aren’t due to lack of ability or experience, it has more to do with the Big Tuna himself. When Parcells took on the role of Grand Poobah of the Dolphins organization, one of the first things he said was that he wasn’t going to be the all-seeing, all-firing head man. So what has he done? Within days of being hired, he fired G.M. Randy Mueller and, within hours of the close of the 2007 regular season, he sent head coach Cam Cameron packing. If that isn’t throwing your weight around, what is?
The biggest problem is that the Dolphins have already interviewed the most likely candidate – Cowboys assistant coach Tony Sparano. Sparano worked directly under Parcells in Dallas and, much like Ireland, is viewed as “a Parcells guy” – someone who will push the agenda that Parcells wants pushed and continue the legacy he began. Frazier, who has no personal experience with Parcells, would have to hit the ground running and wouldn’t be as likely to lock into step directly behind Parcells – as most suspect Sparano will do.
Former Vikings head coach Mike Tice is said to be one of the candidates, along with Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Ryan is set to meet with the Dolphins Tuesday and Haley is due to visit Wednesday. Tice, whose Jaguars remain in the playoffs with a date with the Patriots coming Saturday night, has not had a scheduled date yet.
While the Vikings made a smooth transition from Tomlin to Frazier and, in some respects, players said they felt more comfortable with Frazier’s style of coaching, the Vikings can ill-afford to have their defensive coordinator snapped out from under them by another AFC team. This time, however, it looks like those in the Tuna Family are more likely to get the nod, which would be good news for Dolphins fans, as well as Vikings fans – who would get to keep their hot young coaching prospect for at least another year.
* The Giants' win Sunday was the first time that they have advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs since 2000, where they hung the infamous 41-donut on the Vikings to advance to the Super Bowl.
* Tonight’s BSC Championship Game is going to feature a bunch of pro prospects worth watching, including Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, offensive tackle Alex Boone and defensive end Vernon Gholston – all of whom could be first- or second-round picks. Not to be outdone, LSU has its share of budding NFL stars, including defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (who may end up being the top overall selection in the draft), wide receiver Early Doucet, cornerback Chevis Jackson, linebacker Ali Highsmith and cornerback Jonathan Zenon. All in all, it should have plenty of action and plenty of reasons for Vikings fans to watch because one of those players may well end up being on the Vikings draft list coming April.
* The Vikings officially signed wide receiver Brent Little, who was undrafted last year and spent the preseason with the Chiefs before being released.
* With the Buccaneers season now over, it looks like the wheels are going to start in motion for a father-son reunion. Monte Kiffin, the former Vikings assistant and longtime Bucs defensive coordinator, has a contract that expires at the end of the season and is expected to be brought into the Raiders organization to serve in the same role under his son – head coach Lane Kiffin. It is expected that a short musical chairs routine will go down, with Kiffin coming to Oakland and current DC Rob Ryan being reunited with Eric Mangini with the Jets.