INDIANAPOLIS -- Coach Leslie Frazier said today that ownership recently informed all Vikings employees there won't be any immediate layoffs or pay cuts if there is an NFL work stoppage. The current collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3 and the expectation of many is that there will be a lockout.
This threat has created uncertainty in many organizations.
The New York Jets, for instance, have announced they will start forcing their employees to take unpaid leave if the NFL and players' union fail to agree on a new CBA. The New York Post reported that the weekly furloughs would impact only the business side of the operations, which employs roughly 96 of 158 total workers.
"With all the uncertainty in the league right now, our ownership, the Wilf family, came in a few weeks ago and addressed all of our employees, coaches and wanted to assure them of how concerned they were for the Vikings employees’ well-being during this uncertain time," Frazier said while talking to Twin Cities reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "So many had voiced concerns, wondering what was going to happen as they were reading different things in different places.
"The Wilf family assured all the Vikings’ employees, including the coaches, there were not going to be any layoffs, there were not going to be any pay cuts, that they would circle back at some point and discuss what would happen down the line. But there’s no imminent desire or concern to lay people off or make people take pay cuts. I’m like, ‘Wow. That’s a big deal now.’ You’re talking about boosting morale, just what it did for coaches, for people that work in marketing or people that work in other departments, whoever it is.
"That to me just reinforced in my mind why this in a lot of ways is the best job in the league -- because they didn’t have to do that in these uncertain times. …They’re not just saying that we’re a family. They’re showing that they’re concerned about not just the coaches, the coordinators, the head coaches. They’re not just concerned about the Jared Allens or these Pro Bowl players or Adrian Peterson, getting big contracts, or Chad Greenway. They’re concerned about the lady who answers the phone at the front desk. They want her to be confident that the Vikings are going to do right by her along with others, and you don’t see that all the time in sports. I just wanted to share that. It meant a lot for me.".
With Frazier taking over as coach and new coordinator Bill Musgrave retooling the offense, the Vikings stand to be adversely impacted by not being able to do offseason installation. Frazier confirmed that if the lockout is avoided he will be allowed two mandatory minicamps as a new coach. The first would be held before the draft in late April.
"I think the fact that everybody is going to be operating under the same circumstance -- you don’t want to make any excuses," Frazier said when asked about the situation. "So, in our mind, we’re approaching it like there’s going to be football and we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing what we can do within the parameters of whatever the league allows us to do. And when we get ready to go, we’ll be ready to go."