It will come as no surprise to those who’ve been following the situation over the last few weeks, but on Monday the Vikings made it official: they are moving on from Leslie Frazier as head coach.
“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings,” Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said via press release. “He stepped in and established a strong positive culture here and he has been the consummate professional as our head coach and in this community. Making this change is difficult, but what we determined is best for the organization.”
Rick Spielman said in a statement, “Unfortunately, we did not achieve consistent success and did not achieve the progress we expected. We believe a coaching change is needed to help build a successful team moving forward.”
Leslie Frazier exits Minnesota with a career record of 21-33-1…and a year still remaining on his contract.
In the wake of Sunday’s victory against Detroit, Frazier expressed his hope that the Wilfs would “honor his contract” but hinted that he knew the axe was about to fall. The normally circumspect Frazier’s blunt remarks about needing to “fix” the quarterback situation were perhaps the strongest sign that he knew a firing was about to happen.
Viking players strongly expressed their support for Frazier Sunday evening. Several veterans including Adrian Peterson, Chad Greenway and Brian Robison said they wanted to talk to ownership about Frazier’s status and lobby for the coach to stay.
The swiftness with which Wilf and Spielman made their announcement Monday suggests they had their minds made up long before and nothing could have changed their course of action. How will this sit with veterans who wanted a chance to speak in favor of Frazier?
And where do the Vikings go from here? The coaching search will commence immediately.
The Vikings will hold a press conference at 2 PM to make the official announcement of Frazier’s dismissal.