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Thursday (Leslie Frazier and Jacques Lemaire) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: December 23, 2010 - 10:18 AM

Leslie Frazier and Jacques Lemaire, together in a post for the first time ... ever? (Or at least since they made that Christmas CD together in 2002*). Why are they in the same post? Because we want to use both of them to illustrate how fleeting, fluid and strange coaching situations can be in pro sports.

Lemaire, if you haven't heard, was hired AGAIN by the New Jersey Devils today to be the head coach. No, you are not mistaken. This is the third different stint for the ex-Wild coach as head coach of the suddenly woeful Devils (9-22-2), who fired John MacLean. (No word on whether MacLean told GM Lou Lamoriello "yippie ki-yay, [redacated]" on his way out the door). We're convinced there have been exactly 37 hockey coaches in the history of the NHL. We challenge anyone to prove us wrong.

Frazier, meanwhile, is coaching for a permanent job. Vikings fans are paranoid that he could be the next Tony Dungy or Mike Tomlin -- coordinators who became Super Bowl-winning head coaches elsewhere. But they're also not blind to the 61-17 combined score in two consecutive losses and the general deterioration of the Frazier-led defense this season.

The Vikings' brass has to weigh a ton of things: Does the organization need a wholesale change, which could sweep Frazier out along with it? Do they want to pay another coach big money with Brad Childress still on the books? Is Frazier the best choice regardless of circumstances?

We're not sure of the answers, but we do know this: Sunday feels like an awfully important game for Frazier. He inherited a tough situation, but this team has hardly mirrored the Cowboys when it comes to being rejuvenated by a new coach despite having very little for which to play. If Frazier and the Vikings lose big Sunday and go on to lose the following week at Detroit, wouldn't it be hard to envision him being in charge next season? Then again, if the Vikings can rise up Sunday in primetime and at least be competitive, the 2011 scenario becomes more likely.

Of course, if this was the NHL, the Vikings would just hire Bud Grant for a third go-round.

*Did not happen.


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