Jon Krawczynski / AP Sports Writer, Published December 27 2012
Unflappable Frazier has Vikings on brink of playoffs
Fans were clamoring for Christian Ponder’s benching. The coaching staff was catching heat for a perceived inability to make in-game adjustments. There was growing concern that Adrian Peterson’s brilliant comeback season was being wasted by a team heading nowhere.
Through it all, Leslie Frazier never wavered.
For a coach who inherited a team in turmoil in 2010, presided over the end of Brett Favre’s celebrated consecutive games streak, and had to navigate the collapse of the Metrodome’s roof and the lockout in his first six months on the job, a little losing skid seemed trivial in comparison. He never bowed to public pressure to make a quarterback switch and never changed his message to his team.
Now Frazier’s Vikings are riding a three-game winning streak into the regular season finale – and a victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday puts them into the playoffs.
“Just his voice and what he has brought to this team and the locker room, it’s been huge,” Peterson said. “Guys really connect with him on that level. Just feeling his presence through his words and the confidence he has in us.”
In the middle of one of the most chaotic seasons in franchise history in 2010, Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were searching for a calming presence and a steady hand to quiet things down.
Frazier took over with six games left in a lost season, then had to hold the team together after the Metrodome’s roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow – forcing the Vikings to play one home game in Detroit and another at the University of Minnesota’s stadium.
The Vikings went 3-13 in his first full season, yet avoided the implosion that often comes with so many losses. Now, the unflappable Frazier has guided the team to a 9-6 record in what many expected to be a rebuilding year.
“Leslie’s the kind of guy, ‘We’re still in this thing. We’re fighting. We’re together. We’re all in,’” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “And his approach is perfect, in my mind, for what an NFL coach needs to be.”