Question of the Day: Should the Vikings Extend Leslie Frazier?

DEc 2, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier reacts during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Should the Vikings Extend Leslie Frazier?

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  • Jake

    I don’t mind that Frazier has the personality of wall paper, not every coach needs to be jumping around like a Rex Ryan idiot. What I do mind is that he makes very poor decisions at crucial moments. His clock management has been very poor in the past. What is most infuriating is that he seemingly is unable to adapt and adjust to the game as it changes. What makes Belichick great is that he is highly adaptive and always adjusts his players and his play calling to fit each scenario. He has the ability to take a bunch of guys no one has heard of and turn them into contenders because he is an abstract thinker and he knows how to make adjustments. Frazier doesn’t know how to adapt to anything. He goes into every game with the same plan, week in and week out, and if that plan doesn’t work they lose the game. He never makes halftime adjustments. The same plan that didn’t work in the first half, still doesn’t work in the second half. The only adjustment he ever seems to make is that when they go into halftime with a lead due to aggressive play in the first half they always, always come out in the second half with a stripped down non-aggressive game plan and then end up losing because they aren’t scoring. Frazier is the equivalent of an analog coach in the digital age.

  • Mando

    Belichick hasn’t been as good of a coach since spygate. So yeah maybe when he knew the plays it was easier for him to be highly adaptive. And I’m pretty sure Musgrave is the one calling the shots. Frazier over sees the whole operation, but it is up to Musgrave to formulate a solid game plan.

    • Jake

      Since 2000 the Pats have won their division every year but two. The have the most superbowl appearances of any team in the last 25 years. They won more games between 2000 and 2010 than any other team during a ten year stretch. They’ve won three superbowls and are the only team to ever go 16-0. After the spygate thing the Pats went 16-0 and Belichick was voted coach of the year. The Pats have made the playoffs the last 4 consecutive seasons. But Belichick isn’t very good.

      Musgrave may call the plays but Frazier has final say on the game plan. It’s his show. It’s his clock management and it’s up to him to make in-game adjustments.