Hartman: Wilfs say Frazier will be around awhile

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 24, 2013 - 12:40 AM
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Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier

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The fact that the Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, didn't offer coach Leslie Frazier a contract extension this offseason doesn't mean that they don't have complete confidence in Frazier as a coach. They expect him to coach the Vikings for a long time.

Mark Wilf, owner and president of the Vikings, wanted to make it clear that he expected Frazier to be here a long time, even though only a one-year option was picked up and Frazier wasn't offered the kind of extension Brad Childress, the previous coach under the Wilf family, received.

"I've told you before, we think Leslie is an outstanding coach and we look forward to him being our coach for years to come," said Mark Wilf when asked about Frazier's status with the Vikings.

"Basically he is our coach, and we exercised the option. I mean [we hope he is here for] many years to come, absolutely."

While Frazier hasn't come out publicly and expressed dissatisfaction about not being offered an extension after the Vikings posted a 10-6 record and made the playoffs, there has been media speculation that he expected an extension and was not happy when he didn't get it.

Pleased with Mortenson

On another subject Wilf said he was very happy with progress on the new stadium: Mortenson getting the construction rights and a satisfactory agreement to make the stadium a first-class baseball venue for local teams as well as a first-class football stadium.

Meanwhile Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president of public affairs and stadium development, said a decision on whether the stadium will have a retractable roof will be made in the next 30 to 45 days.

And because Mortenson never has been involved in building a stadium with a retractable roof, it has brought in the Walter P. Moore Agency in the event a decision is made to have a retractable roof.

That agency has designed retractable roofs for Reliant Stadium in Houston, which was the first such roof on a football stadium; Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and the Houston Astros' Minute Maid Park as well a retractable roof and retractable field at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Finally on the stadium front, University of Minnesota General Counsel Mark B. Rotenberg and Kevin Warren, Vikings vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer, are close to an agreement on the Vikings' use of TCF Bank Stadium while the new pro stadium is being built.

Look for an agreement to be announced at a March meeting of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.

Knight right on Jordan

Michael Jordan's 50th birthday being celebrated this month brings back memories of the former North Carolina and Chicago Bulls star playing with the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, coached by Bob Knight, in an exhibition game at the Metrodome against a Kevin McHale-led squad of All-Stars.

Jordan had averaged 19.6 points his junior year at North Carolina for a team that was loaded with stars and ranked No. 1 in the country but failed to win the national championship. At the time, nobody was predicting the type of career Jordan would have.

In fact, Jordan had been drafted third overall by the Bulls as the Houston Rockets took University of Houston center Hakeem Olajuwon first and the Portland Trail Blazers selected Kentucky center Sam Bowie second.

As a part of the visit, I hosted a dinner for the Olympic team at my home on the St. Croix River with all of the Olympic party attending.

While that was going on there was a lot of talk among three of the coaches about how well the Olympic players would do in the NBA.

I remember two of the coaches getting into a discussion with Knight and not agreeing when Jordan walked by them and Knight said, "There is going to be the greatest player that ever played the game."

Well, Knight turned out right, and the coaches who didn't agree were wrong.

Gophers baseball underway

Gophers baseball coach John Anderson said he felt good about the start of his team's season. "Well, you know we went to UCLA and beat the No. 2 team in the country," Anderson said. "We had to leave our top two starters at home because they have injuries they're recovering from. We didn't pitch too well the next two days and got beat, got beat around. You can't go to UCLA and play the No. 2 team in the country without two of your top starters, and that's what happened.

"But for us to go there and win a game against that team, I like our team. I think we're going to be fine when we get healthy."

JOTTINGS

• Why hasn't former Vikings coach Brad Childress been hired by the Chiefs even though Andy Reid wants him there? From Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, "[Childress] still has not been fired as offensive coordinator of the Browns. But he isn't working for them, either. Seems to be just a matter of time. Perhaps a little byplay between [Browns CEO] Joe Banner and Reid is at work."

• Former Twins outfielders Ben Revere and Delmon Young eventually will be the starting center and right fielders in Philadelphia this year, after Revere was traded there in the offseason and Young signed a one-year free-agent contract. But it sounds as if Young won't be available until May, as he continues to recover from microfracture surgery on his ankle in November.

• Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague and multimillionaire Denny Sanford of the Sanford Hospital Organization have had numerous conversations about Sanford making a large contribution so that athletic department facilities can be improved. Rumors are that Sanford might make a big contribution soon.

• Gophers pitcher Tom Windle, who had a great summer in the Cape Cod League with an impressive 2.34 ERA, is listed as the 41st-best college pitcher by Baseball America. Describing Windle, who could be a first-round draft choice, Baseball America reports that "Windle will be an asset to the Golden Gophers rotation with an 88 to 94 [mph] fastball, flashes of a plus slider and a promising changeup."

• It was nice to see J Robinson's prediction that his Gophers wrestlers would avenge one of their more frustrating losses -- 16-15 to Iowa at Williams Arena in January -- come true with a 22-15 triumph over the Hawkeyes at the National Duals on Saturday. They faced No. 1 Oklahoma State in the finals Saturday night.

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