Thursday, December 02, 2010

What I Like About You

It did not take long for interim Minnesota Vikings' head coach Leslie Frazier to ingratiate himself with Vikings' fans. In the days preceding the Vikings' 17-13 road victory over Washington, Frazier immediately established himself as a more personable public face of the team than former head coach Brad Childress ever seemed capable of managing, despite much effort and expense by the Vikings' front office. Frazier not only spoke openly about his plans for the Washington game--careful not to venture into the Mike Tice territory of giving away the team's game plan--he also did so unscripted. That, in and of itself, was a refreshing change from the Childress era.

Frazier also elected to be interviewed by KFAN drive-time host, Dan Barreiro, rather than reprising Childress' interview schedule with the 9 to noon station host, Paul Allen. The move, almost certainly encouraged by the Vikings' front office, nevertheless was Frazier's to approve. By moving out of the softball, love fest that is the Paul Allen world, Frazier opted, instead, to weather the typically more blunt questions from Barreiro--the type of questions that often flustered Tice and the answers to which, in part, probably facilitated Tice's departure.

Not only did Frazier accept the challenge of moving from the warm cocoon to the real world of sports interviews, he did so with aplomb, answering questions directly so as not to agitate the host and being thoughtful enough in his responses not leave the type of negative impression which Childress all too often left with fans and talk show hosts alike.

Frazier took his image to Washington where he led the Vikings to the team's first road victory since November of 2009 and its first opening drive touchdown this year. And even with Adrian Peterson sidelined from the second quarter on with a sprained ankle, Frazier managed a victory where a Childress-led team almost certainly would have fallen to ignominious defeat.

More striking of Frazier than either his initial public impression or his in-game performance was his response to the victory. Never has an individual looked more genuinely happy than did Frazier on Sunday. And never have members of a team seemed more genuinely pleased for their head coach than did the Vikings' players. Frazier beamed from ear to ear, his players cheered, and the Vikings' left an opponent's field finally victorious. It was reminiscent of the closing scene from Rudy, only Frazier is no Rudy and his run is far from over.

As his in-game coaching of E.J. Henderson, caught by FOX cameras during Sunday's game, suggests, Frazier is no wilting lily. But neither, as his players will attest, is he clinically obsessive compulsive about his design. In short, while he is not a 180 degree change from Childress, Frazier appears to be a 90 degree shift in the right direction. And that might be just what the Vikings need to ensure that at least some of their many soon-to-be free agents have a desire to return next season, whenever that might be, and that the State legislature and Governor see greater value in gifting the team public money for a stadium, even if the team has no other place to play.

Up Next: Vikings' Being Dishonest and Disingenuous About Their Lack of Interest in a Retractable Roof on a New Stadium.


Cabrito said...

Good to hear from you again, VG.

Like all Vikings fans, I too was pretty happy to see Frazier post a win on his very first try. Frankly, however, I'm of two minds about the direction our new coach should take for the rest of the season. I realize he wants to win as many games as possible, and Favre gives him the best chance to do that. Still, isn't it possible we might win some games with TJ at quarterback? Perhaps we should be looking to the future. There's an outside chance that Jackson has learned something under Favre's tutelage, and Frazier really should give him a chance to show his stuff in order to know what to do about pursuing another QB for next season (if there is one). I'd also like to see Joe Webb get into a game before the season ends. Maybe he could play one half of one of the last two games. Also, to tell you the truth, I was kind of glad to see AP forced to sit out of much of the Washington game. It gave us a chance to finally see what Gerhart could do, and I think we were all pretty impressed.

My point is that we should be looking to the future, but that doesn't mean we have to give up the hope of winning games. Maybe we can give some of the guys on the bench a chance to show what they can do, without surrendering the rest of the season. Your opinion?

MN said...

Well the 2-0 now. It looks like if they had a decent QB instead of Tarvaris Jackson they would have beaten the bills about as much as they should. They still beat there pretty badly though which is good.

So far it seems like he knows how to leverage Viking strengths somewhat.

I hope though, that this is not reflect in stadium issues. A dedicated football stadium that is played in for what, 10-12 games a year at most? That's a colossal waste and I have yet to see a single study that indicates that stadiums generate enough economic development to justify anything beyond the barest public funding.

It's not just because I'm a Twins fan, I don't think the Twins stadium should have been built in the way it was built either.

vikes geek said...


In the NFL, the future is always the present. There are always ways to correct problems, particularly if one is willing to spend to address the problem(s). The Vikings have enough young talent and potentially returning veterans that they can be very good next year...if they identify a quarterback. The problem for Minnesota is that if they start over next year, they would be giving up on the two best years of Adrian Peterson's career. The Vikings simply need to figure out how to fill their current holes. With a stadium in the balance, that almost certainly is the route that the Vikings will go.


vikes geek said...


Agreed, for the most part. What is pathetic about the stadium issue has been the Vikings' amateurish approach to the deal. There is an equilibrium point at which a new stadium makes financial sense for both the relevant municipality and the team/NFL. The Vikings are still stuck in the mode of attempting to convince people that they owe the team something. They do not. If the Vikings want a new stadium they can build their own (with generous financial assistance from the NFL, of course) or work with the relevant municipality. The latter, the Vikings are merely feigning interest in doing right now.

The stadium deal is eminently workable and plausible, but the Vikings are not doing their part. If they want to know what "their part" is, they are free to contact me. This is a deal that should already be in place, but for the Vikings' greed and transparent obfuscation of material facts.