Leslie Frazier and Kirk Cousins
Citing current success, familiarity, class and diversity – all noble traits – the Jim Souhan of Star Tribune believes former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier is expected to become the following the head coach.
The Vikings fired Frazier after the 2013 season, capping a three-year stint when Frazier took over from Brad Childress. Frazier is the current defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.
But now he should return, according to Souhan. To date, the Vikings have interviewed Todd Bowles, Jonathan Gannon, Nathaniel Hackett, Kellen Moore, Raheem Morris, Kevin O’Connell, Dan Quinn and DeMeco Ryans during this coaching search. Minnesota is unlikely to use “backward” thinking with a Frazier interview, although anything is possible.
Truth be told, Minnesota is more likely to interview Brian Daboll, the architect of the Bills offense. He is expected to receive a second interview with the New York Giants this week after that organization hired an executive, Jon Schoen, from the Buffalo front office.
Minnesota recently ended an era involving defensive coaching with Mike Zimmer, whose defense was spectacular from 2014 to 2019. Yet in 2020 and 2021, Zimmer’s ferocious defense crumbled. From 2014 to 2019, the Vikings’ defense ranked first in the NFL by EPA/game. From 2020 to present, the defense has dropped to 23rd in the league in Zimmer’s last two campaigns.
Generally speaking, most fans prefer an attacking coach for this hire. Why? Well, take a look at the remaining field in the 2021 NFL Playoffs. Sean McVay, Andy Reid, Kyle Shanahan and Zac Taylor are the remaining coaches leading teams to conference championships — all came from offensive midfielders. While this is not the case all year – Bill Belichick, a defensive coach, is usually around this time in the playoffs – offense is the king of the NFL right now. Just rewatch Sunday night’s Chiefs and Bills game.
Plus, Vikings fans prefer a fresh start – absent Rick Spielman or Mike Zimmer. Calling out Frazier for nostalgia seems counterproductive and incongruous for a Costs start.
Souhan said in his post, “Frazier is obviously a great candidate. The Vikings seem willing to let their familiarity with one of the classiest coaches in team history count as a negative.
And he’s probably right. If the Vikings hired Frazier, chances are he’s become a leader, possibly restoring the Vikings to the playoffs. However, for the moment, this is only a hypothesis.
Frazier’s win-loss record as a head coach is 21-32-1 (.398), just a few percentage points behind a coach like Adam Gase.
Indeed, it’s classy – and Frazier’s sequel could work beautifully – that’s unlikely to happen. Coaching changes, especially those coupled with a new GM, foster new ideas and new faces. Frazier doesn’t provide that — at all — and his largely postseason-free performance a decade ago isn’t conducive to another hooray.
However, the Vikings may see more of Frazier soon. He is in the running to become the next coach of the Chicago Bears.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, airing every Wednesday with Raun Saw and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).