Frazier isn't focusing on his future

Leslie Frazier (Hannah Foslien/Getty)

While Leslie Frazier takes the criticism of the public, he doesn't appear to be on the chopping block. He acknowledges the difficulties of the season, but says his conversations with owner Zygi Wilf have been positive.

Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier's job status is bound to be a topic of conversation over the final month of the season. The Vikings have one of the league's worst records and are potentially on pace to set a franchise mark for futility.

Frazier said he hasn't thought about his future and is focused on next week's opponent, the Detroit Lions, but he apparently has the backing of team ownership.

According to the Star Tribune, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said Frazier's job is safe for next season and there would only be administrative changes if Frazier asked for changes.

"Leslie will definitely be back next year," Wilf told the Star Tribune.

Frazier said he and Wilf haven't talked about his return next season. The coach isn't worrying about his job security right now though. He's only focused on trying to improve on Minnesota's 2-10 record and building the team for the future.

"I never really even thought about that," Frazier said about Wilf's reported vote of confidence. "It hasn't even entered my train of thought. All my conversations with him have been positive. He understands where we are. He understands what we're trying to get done in our first year, and it never crossed my mind to think any other way."

Frazier hasn't had an easy tenure since taking over as the Vikings coach little over a year ago. Several off-field issues and on-field struggles have culminated into one of the three worst records in the NFL this season. Indianapolis is 0-12 and Minnesota is tied with St. Louis at 2-10.

The Vikings are perilously close to establishing a new low mark in the team's 51-year history. The worst record for a 16-game season came in 1984, when Minnesota went 3-13 during Les Steckel's lone season as head coach. The Vikings haven't had another season with less than five wins during a 16-game schedule.

The lowest win total came in 1962, the team's second season, when it went 2-11-1.

Frazier is 5-13 as head coach, including 3-3 as interim fill-in after Brad Childress was fired Nov. 22, 2010. Frazier's .278 winning percentage is the second-worst in team history, besting only Steckel's .188 mark for ineptitude.

However, Frazier believes he is building something in Minnesota and is excited for the future.

"I have to keep reminding myself, and I was talking to my coaches about this, that you know it is a journey," Frazier said. "It's a part of what we got to go through to get to where we want to go eventually. I don't foresee us forever being in this situation.

"There's some things that we are all learning from, what we are experiencing, and I'm really believing that we will look back on it in time and say 'OK, this is what happened in 2011 and this is why we are better in 2012, because of what happened in 2011.'"

The lockout put the new coaching staff behind in preparation. The team has cut three former starters — left tackle Bryant McKinnie, receiver Bernard Berrian and quarterback Donovan McNabb — since the start of training camp, not to mention three players being arrested during that time.

And on the field, the losses have mounted. Sunday's 35-32 loss to Denver was the fourth in a row.

"This is hard," Frazier said. "There ain't no question about it. You hate losing games. But I don't think, I can't even remember the last time I was in the situation where we lost 10 games in a season. So it's hard, but you have to be able to see the bigger picture. It's our first year together as a staff, it's our first year together as a team, and we've got some things that we got to get corrected, but you can see light beginning to shine."


Brian Hall writes about the Vikings for Fox Sports North.


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