Leslie Frazier has been the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings since the 11th game of the 2010 season when he replaced Brad Childress as the interim head coach. Since becoming the head coach Frazier has led the Vikings to a 17-25 record, which includes the team’s 1-3 start this year. While Frazier did lead the Vikings to a surprising playoff appearance last season, much of that was because of the running ability of Adrian Peterson and the prowess of the defense.
This season may be Frazier’s last in Minnesota if he is unable to turn things around as he is on pace for his second losing season as a full-time head coach and has been unable to turn Christian Ponder into the franchise quarterback he though he was after making him his first draft choice after being named the head coach.
Another thing that should weigh in on the moving on from Frazier is the fact that he was brought up as a defensive minded coach and defensive coordinator, yet the defense this season for the Vikings has taken a step back, more specifically the secondary, which is what Frazier coached while in Philadelphia from 1999-02. The strengths that Frazier is suppose to bring as the head coach have not been fully seen since he has been named head coach which is a sign it is time to move on.
If the Vikings were to replace Frazier this offseason, as I hope they do, they will likely have a chance to bring back a former defensive coordinator. That would be Mike Tomlin, who since leaving has had success as a head coach. Tomlin left the Vikings back in 2007 after serving as the team’s defensive coordinator for one season, but quickly found success in Pittsburgh as he won a Super Bowl in just his second season as a head coach. Tomlin should be the first priority if the Pittsburgh Steelers decide to fire him after a disappointing season so far, but he isn’t the only one as Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has risen to the top of NFL coaching wish lists after what he has done with the Aggies.
Sumlin has allowed his quarterback Johnny Manziel to flourish and win a Heisman trophy. Considering the Vikings should be looking for a quarterback in the offseason, and Manziel will be an option, Sumlin would be a perfect fit in Minnesota. Sumlin could team up a dual-threat quarterback, possibly Manziel, with the already dynamic Peterson, which would make the Vikings one of the best running teams in a pass-first league.
There a plenty of games left this season for the Vikings, 12 to be exact, meaning Frazier has plenty of opportunities to turn this season around and keep his job. However, if the team continues its current downward trend, it would be smart to send Frazier and Ponder packing and bring in a new head coach to rebuild the offense.