Minnesota Vikings: Frazier nearly a lock for job

DETROIT -- One of the most disappointing seasons in the Minnesota Vikings' 50-year history might have come to an end Sunday with a 20-13 loss to the Lions at Ford Field, but team officials will have some busy days ahead.

DETROIT -- One of the most disappointing seasons in the Minnesota Vikings' 50-year history might have come to an end Sunday with a 20-13 loss to the Lions at Ford Field, but team officials will have some busy days ahead.

The Star Tribune has confirmed interim coach Leslie Frazier is the team's first choice to take over the job on a permanent basis and, barring a late breakdown in talks, Frazier should be introduced as the eighth coach in franchise history early this week.

Owner Zygi Wilf declined to comment Sunday as he left the Vikings locker room, and Frazier would only say that he would talk to ownership on Sunday night or today to find out in which direction things were headed. "Nothing has been solidified, but we're going to talk further," Frazier said.

Frazier would have plenty of work ahead of him after a Vikings team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations and Brett Favre at quarterback finished 6-10 and in last place in its division for the first time since the 1990 season.

Favre, 41, did not play Sunday because of a concussion that sidelined him for a second consecutive game. Afterward, he said again that his 20-year Hall of Fame career was finished. "It's time, I know it's time," Favre said.


The Vikings and Lions both finished with 6-10 records in the NFC North, but because they split the season series the next tiebreaker was division record, and Detroit went 2-4 compared to the Vikings' 1-5.

"It's not an enviable position at all," Frazier said. "It's a position that I don't know when the last time the Vikings were in this position. But the one thing you have to do is step back, take a look at it and say, 'What do we have to do to not be in this position again?' This is the reality of the situation.

"This is where our season finished. So now what do you do about it, and that's what we'll have to figure out this offseason."

Frazier guided the Vikings to a 3-3 record after taking over for Brad Childress on Nov. 22, a day after Childress was fired following a 31-3 loss to Green Bay at the Metrodome. The Vikings have been acting quickly in making a decision on Frazier in part because of the number of head coaching jobs that could open up Monday as teams decide to make changes.

Frazier has interviewed for seven jobs in recent years and figured to be a hot candidate. Frazier spent several hours meeting with team officials on Friday. While Wilf has declined to comment throughout this process, Frazier acquitted himself well; two of his three victories came on the road.

"If everything works out and I'm indeed named the head coach of the Vikings there are some things I would definitely like to address for sure," Frazier said of his potential plans.

Asked specifically what those things would be, he said: "It will be another time to talk about those things in detail. But there are some things that I'd like to address for sure."

What likely impressed ownership the most was the job Frazier did managing the Vikings through tough times. This has included the collapse of the Metrodome roof -- the Vikings were forced to play "home" games in Detroit and at TCF Bank Stadium -- and the NFL's decision to push last Sunday's game between the Vikings and Eagles to Tuesday because of the threat of a blizzard in Philadelphia.


The Vikings suffered one-sided losses to the Giants (21-3) and Bears (40-14) after the Dome's roof came down but rebounded to upset the Eagles 24-14.

Despite the trying times, Frazier said he was not excited to see the season end.

"That wouldn't be the word I'd use," he said. "I love being in the playoffs, and to not be in the playoffs it hasn't happened very many times in my professional career either as a player or coach. This morning driving over here I said, 'Man, I can't believe this is our last game.' Just a feeling I don't want to have again. We've got to get some things taken care of. But, no, I'd rather be playing. I wish we were playing next week."

Frazier, a cornerback for the Chicago Bears from 1981 to '86, joined the Vikings in 2007 after two seasons working on the Indianapolis Colts' coaching staff with his good friend Tony Dungy. Frazier replaced Mike Tomlin as the Vikings defensive coordinator after Tomlin left to become head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was given the title of assistant head coach in March 2008.

"I'd love to be in (the head coaching) role next season so we could have a full offseason to implement some ideas and thoughts that I have for our team," Frazier said. "My familiarity with our situation, understanding our background and what I think we need to do to get back to being NFC North champs. It just gives me confidence that we can get it done in short order.

"I'm hoping for the best and just believing that I'll be back in Minnesota."

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