The Minnesota Vikings will not work on a new contract for coach Leslie Frazier during the season, so that makes the coming year a make or break proposition for him.
The Vikings picked up the 2014 option in Frazier’s contract back in January. After guiding a turnaround that landed the team in the playoffs, Frazier was disappointed he didn’t get an extension. You can’t blame him one bit.
Now, he prepares for 2013 knowing the outcome of the season will likely determine his fate as NFL clubs are reluctant to have a coach enter a lame-duck season. For any proof of what can happen, look at the final season of John Fox in Carolina.
Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com spoke with Vikings president Mark Wilf at the NFL owners meeting about Frazier’s status.
"We have a great relationship with coach Frazier," Wilf said. "We've had a lot of communicating back and forth on that. But now we're turning the page to the 2013 season and our focus is on, first, winning our division, which is a very tough division, and we want to get back to where we were a few years ago, and that's the top of our division. We know it's competitive, but that's our No. 1 focus. From there, hopefully it's our best opportunity for our ultimate goal, which is to win the championship.
"Once the season goes, we're not discussing any contractual relationships or anything of that sort."
Frazier probably doesn’t have to win the NFC North to keep his job for the long haul. But the Vikings certainly can’t back slide very far. That much is certain.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune