Has Vikings coach Leslie Frazier done enough to earn a contract extension? That’s the question Zygi Wilf will soon have to answer. Frazier currently has one year left on a three year deal. So presumably the Vikings could let Frazier dangle through the 2013 season and then make up their minds. Or they could choose to reward Frazier for a 10-6 playoff season by giving him a new contract in the coming months.
Rick Spielman has been predictably tight-lipped regarding Frazier’s future. When asked what recommendation Spielman made to ownership on Frazier, the GM replied, “I just said Leslie has done an outstanding job. And again, I don’t want to talk specifics, but I know our ownership group will discuss that, and when we have an announcement, we’ll go from there.”
So I put the question to you fans. Has Leslie Frazier done enough to earn an extension? Should he be rewarded for the job he did steering the ship through the rough waters of 2010-2011? Or has Frazier left you with enough nagging questions that you would be willing to let him walk at the end of 2013 in hopes someone better (possibly with the last name Gruden) will come knocking on our door?
I know a lot of fans are lukewarm about Frazier. His personality is not exactly dynamic. Fans like fiery guys like Jim Harbaugh. Or genius tacticians like Bill Belichick. Frazier is neither a Harbaugh nor a Belichick. He is often compared to Tony Dungy but I’m not sure that even applies. Frazier seems in all ways nondescript as a coach. His presence on the sideline can best be described as taciturn. But sideline presence isn’t everything. How does the guy relate to his players? How does he deal with crisis?
It’s hard to answer those questions without having backstage access. From what I’ve read and heard, Frazier is a guy who is highly respected by players. He treats guys like men and is always willing to lend an ear anytime someone has a grievance. Frazier’s ability to relate to players certainly is a mark in his favor.
But there are some who might argue that Frazier is a little too much of a players’ coach. A little too loyal to veterans. Not willing enough to move on from unproductive older players and give younger guys a shot. His unwillingness to throw Christian Ponder straight into the fire in 2011 led directly to the acquisition of Donovan McNabb, a major mistake by any measure. Would Ponder be farther along in his growth had Frazier been willing to let the rookie play right away?
There are also the usual complaints fans always have about coaches. Frazier has sometimes blundered in clock management. Certain in-game decisions have left people shaking their heads. But there’s no denying this: the Vikings were nowhere after 2011, and somehow managed to go 10-6 in 2012. Frazier absolutely deserves his share of the credit for that. The Vikings suffered plenty of adversity in 2012 but managed to always right the ship. Frazier’s no-panic style certainly helped the Vikes weather the storms of 2012.
I certainly expect Frazier to be extended. But who knows. Rick Spielman has his own opinions. If the Vikes do let Frazier go into the season without an extension, well, that would certainly be an interesting situation. Frazier would then be in the position of having to prove himself all over again. I don’t see that happening, but time will tell.