INDIANAPOLIS - Leslie Frazier chose his words carefully Friday, wanting it known that he plans to handle his awkward contract situation in the most professional manner possible. But there is no question the Vikings' decision not to speak with Frazier's agent this offseason about a potential extension left the head coach both agitated and confused.
True to character, Frazier refuses to air his complaints publicly. And so when asked about the team's decision to exercise only the 2014 option on his contract without initiating talks on a longer-term deal, Frazier simply shrugged, downplaying any tension.
"I moved past it," Frazier said from the NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. "It is what it is, and I've got to concentrate on getting our team ready for this season."
The Vikings might have reason to be cautious with Frazier's deal, only a couple years removed from the firing of Brad Childress, a dismissal that came only a year after he had been given a lucrative three-year extension.
Still, that doesn't fully diminish the oddity of Frazier's current situation. It's not just that he led the Vikings to 10 victories and an unexpected playoff appearance last season; it's that his leadership proved galvanizing throughout 2012 and proved most evident when the team closed the season with four consecutive victories to secure a wild-card berth.
Just as many experts figured the Vikings to be an NFC bottom-feeder heading into last season, the prevailing thought in early December was that the team was left for dead after a 23-14 loss in Green Bay dropped it to 6-6.
But Frazier's squad rallied the next week with a convincing victory over a Chicago team that had beaten it by 18 points just two weeks earlier. Then came dominant road triumphs in St. Louis and Houston and a season-closing 37-34 victory over the Packers.
Frazier figured his efforts would be rewarded with an extension. Instead, owners Zygi and Mark Wilf opted only to exercise that 2014 option, a half-hearted vote of confidence that left Frazier and agent Bob Lamonte stunned.
Frazier had believed some negotiations would take place at the very least. But ...
"What I believe and what actually is is what you have to deal with," he said. "You guys know the reality. And that's what I want to deal with, the reality of the situation."
Frazier would prefer that Lamonte handle public commentary on the situation and said he understands his duty of focusing on his coaching responsibilities to be a true leader for his players and coaches.
"I can't ever forget that," Frazier said. "They derive a lot of their energy from me. So I have to make sure I'm focused on what we've got to get done so we can have a great year."
Technically, Frazier now has two years left on his deal. But with NFL coaches rarely entering the final year of their deals without an extension, 2013 essentially will become another contract year.
"My desire to win a championship overrides anything else," Frazier said. "I'm not doing what I do for a contract. I'm not doing what I do for money. I want to bring a championship to Minnesota, period. So every decision I make, that's what it's based on."