Like a number of Vikings players, the reigning NFL MVP was using his Sunday postgame interview to make a public pitch for management to keep embattled coach Leslie Frazier amid rampant expectations that the team will fire him Monday.
“Like I’ve been saying all year,” said running back Adrian Peterson, “we’re a total of six minutes from being in the playoffs and having a chance.”
Actually, it’s more like 2 minutes, 43 seconds. That’s the combined total of time left in regulation when the Vikings lost their leads against Chicago (10 seconds), Cleveland (51), Dallas (35), Baltimore (4) and Green Bay (46).
They went 0-4-1 in those games, managing only a tie with the Packers. Hold those leads and it’s a 10-6 season, not 5-10-1 following Sunday’s 14-13 season-ending victory over the Lions.
What remains to be seen, however, is whether ownership views those near victories as something in Frazier’s favor or a trend-establishing indictment of his ability to coach in a league that’s often decided by a narrow margin.
Peterson said he will talk to owners Mark and Zygi Wilf on Monday. Asked if he believed he can change the brothers’ minds if they have already decided to fire Frazier, Peterson said, “I hope so.
“But I don’t want all the pressure on me. I hope that’s not the case [that a decision has been made]. He’s a great coach and I would love to see him stay around.”
“He’s just a man of God, first off,” Peterson said. “Great coach. When you sit there and you listen to him talk … you’re always gaining great knowledge from him. … A lot of people like the rah-rah type guy. I’m more about words and what’s being said. No matter how it’s said, you can hold on to it and learn from it. He does a great job of being a teacher. I feel like that’s what this organization needs.”
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, the elder statesman in the locker room following 11 seasons with the Vikings, also was among those asking for Frazier to be given a chance to at least finish out his contract, which runs through 2014.
“He’s done a great job with us,” Williams said. “When he stepped in [during the 2010 season], he got us a couple of wins in that bad season, and then he had the playoff season last year.”
Linebacker Chad Greenway also has been around Frazier since he arrived in 2007 as Mike Tomlin’s replacement as defensive coordinator. Frazier came in having won a Super Bowl as a player with the Bears and as an assistant with the Colts in 2006.
“He’s more than capable of coaching in this league,” Greenway said. “He’s won so many games as a coordinator, a head coach. He’s put us in position to win, been consistent with his message week in and week out. And he kept us together. Of course, we’re going to have his back. He’s our coach.”