COMMENTARY | By all accounts, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier is one of the nicest people that you will meet. He has a proven track record of being a very capable defensive assistant coach. But as a head coach, Frazier is simply out-matched on a consistent basis, as his 17-28 lifetime record entering Sunday's game with the Dallas Cowboys indicates.
For starters, Frazier doesn't have the demeanor that it takes to be successful in today's NFL. Many of today's winning teams are led by fiery, emotional coaches, such as the Harbaugh brothers and Pete Carroll. Even Denver's John Fox gets quite animated on the sidelines from time to time.
Frazier prefers the stoic, emotionless presence that Minnesota Vikings fans were first introduced to by former coach Bud Grant. With Grant, you couldn't tell if the Vikings were ahead by 10 points or behind by 10 points. With Frazier, you can't tell if the Vikings are behind by seven points or behind by 27.
But that's where the similarities end, as Grant had the respect of his team and the rest of the league, while Frazier appears to have neither. The Vikings aren't responding to his methods and have too much talent to be 1-6 and one of the laughingstocks of the league.
Frazier is also too indecisive to be a successful head coach. Once again, he is holding off on naming a starting quarterback against Dallas until Friday. He said one reason for the delay is that he wanted an element of surprise. That means the Cowboys won't know whether to prepare for the weak-armed quarterback who doesn't have the arm strength to throw a slant pattern or the strong-armed quarterback who couldn't stop throwing the ball 10 yards over everybody's head in his one appearance with the team.
The one quarterback who actually led the team to a victory, Matt Cassel, has already been ruled out and relegated to being the team's third-string quarterback.
Frazier has also surrounded himself with the wrong people. Bill Musgrave is not a quality offensive coordinator, something it took his two previous employers less time to figure out than it has Frazier, while defensive coordinator Alan Williams has to take some of the criticism for the team's consistent dismal efforts.
The Vikings fired coach Brad Childress in the middle of the season in 2010, one year after he led them to the playoffs, and the thinking is that owner Zygi Wilf doesn't want to fire consecutive coaches the year after the team makes the playoffs, even though that would send a signal to the team, particularly the younger players, and the fans that losing is not acceptable.
The Vikings are in dire need of a complete rebuild and it's going to have to start at the top. There's no better time to get the ball rolling for the future than right now and that means it's time for somebody else to lead the Vikings for the remainder of the season.
Allen Moody is an author and sports bettor living in Nevada. A newspaper sports reporter for 12 years, he has been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings since the 1970s.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
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- Leslie Frazier
- Dallas Cowboys