The best news for Leslie Frazier heading into his second full season as Vikings head coach: Neither owner Zygi Wilf nor GM Rick Spielman has given him a victory total he needs to reach to retain his job. Instead, as Wilf noted during training camp, Frazier will be judged on his ability to keep the team consistently competitive while showing proof that the young players are buying into the system.
Of course, another disastrous season with only three or four victories will push Frazier toward that coaching guillotine. But the 53-year-old coach can't see that happening, not with the chance he had through a normal offseason to mold the team the way he wanted it.
Frazier consistently has asserted that the lockout-shortened offseason of 2011 was a tremendous handicap for a first-time head coach with two new coordinators. "That's not an excuse; it's just the reality of the situation," he said. "We missed that opportunity to really shape our team in the offseason. There were so many things I couldn't see just because of how muddy the whole offseason was. There wasn't a lot of clarity for me personally."
Now, Frazier feels that clarity is there. He knows the players he has and what kind of team he wants to create.
Is he right for this job? That's a question Wilf and Spielman will have to answer. Give them until at least December to formulate an educated opinion. At that point, it should be obvious whether the Vikings are making notable progress on their climb back toward relevance.