To quote the late, great Howard Cosell: “Down goes Frazier!”
The Minnesota Vikings made official on Monday what had long been expected by fans and observers, and fired head coach Leslie Frazier after just over three seasons at the helm. While Frazier is one of the most respected, well-liked coaches in the league, and has always been a consummate professional, it’s hard to debate that this change was needed.
What’s important to remember, however, is just how much Frazier was asked to do with, quite honestly, very little help at the quarterback position. In 2010, Brett Favre was breaking down at the end of his career, and the Vikings finished the season working with guys like Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb. The 2011 Donovan McNabb experiment was a wild failure, as the veteran went 1-5 as a starter before being benched and released.
Of course, we all know what’s happened with McNabb’s replacement, Christian Ponder. The only time Ponder has actually looked like a serviceable starter in this league was during Adrian Peterson‘s insane 2012 campaign, and the entire rotation between Ponder, Matt Cassel, and for just a moment, Josh Freeman. I said from the start that the decision to sign Freeman was terrible, but it actually turned out worse than I could have imagined.
Again, none of this is to say that the decision to fire Frazier is wrong. Rather, it seems to me that he’s been doomed from the start by the team’s inability to evaluate quarterback talent, and his own inability to develop any of the talent that’s been given to him. At least some of this blame should lie with general manager Rick Spielman, but in the end what happens on the field is all that counts.
For whoever takes the Vikings’ job next, there should be only one mission. Above all else, the team needs a quarterback to take pressure off of Adrian Peterson and lead at least a competent passing attack. If that doesn’t happen, it’ll just be more of a revolving door in a few years.