Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
Find him on Twitter
It's usually difficult to invest much emotion in NFL coaches. They're mostly vagabond mercenaries who travel from city to city, knowiing they'll most likely be fired within two or three years, and they often display all the interpersonal charm of vagabond mercenaries.
Leslie Frazier was, and is, different. He brought with him a remarkable personal story and a unique personal touch. He was the rare NFL head coach who became beloved by people at all levels of his organization, who made sure he ate lunch with different employees every day, who was about more than winning and losing.
Of course, losing did him in. He won 18 games in three full seasons as the Vikings' head coach, and that number justifies the Wilfs' decision to fire him, whether I agree with it or not.
It's easy to blame the head coach when an NFL team loses, but I never believe it's that simple. With the exception of Joe Gibbs, every great coach in recent NFL history has been defined by the play of his quarterback. I believe that if Frazier had been given a franchise quarterback, he would still be employed. If he was capable of winning 10 games with an erratic Christian Ponder, what could he accomplish with a real NFL quarterback?
Rick Spielman has a good batting average while running the Vikings' draft, but his choice of Ponder cost Frazier his job.
So while the Wilfs and Spielman begin their search for a new coach, what will matter most is the combination of coach and quarterback upon which they settle.
Frazier has been blamed for the choice of Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator. I've been given indications that wasn't his decision alone. Alan Williams wasn't his first choice as defensive coordinator, either.
If you want to blame Frazier for something, blame him for not playing a bigger role in defensive play-calling, and for not forcing Musgrave to use Cordarrelle Patterson more early in the season.
I was lucky enough to spend time with Frazier in his hometown of Columbus, Ms. I saw the remains of the shack in which he was raised, and met with people who are still close to him.
He's a remarkable human, and if he had been given a good quarterback, he'd stil be employed.
I'll be on 1500ESPN (that's 1500AM) at noon to talk about Frazier. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
The Vikings won the last game to be played at the Metrodome on Sunday, won what might have been the last game in purple for Leslie Frazier, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams, and they did so with a glimpse of the future.
Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson scored both of the Vikings' touchdowns and set the franchise record for kickoff return yardage during the Vikings' 14-13 victory over the Detroit Lions. His day gave the Vikings a consolation prize in a lost season, but also made you wonder what might have been had the Vikings settled on the right quarterback and made Patterson a bigger part of the offense earlier in the season.
The Vikings honored their Metrodome past by bringing back great players ,and allowing Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant to blow the horn before the game.
The victory locked the Vikings into the eighth pick in the upcoming NFL draft, when they are sure to be seeking a franchise quarterback.
The Vikings are expected to announce the fate of coach Leslie Frazier early in the week.
Please check back on startribune.com tonight and in the newspaper tomorrow for full coverage, including videos, blogs, grades, analysis and sidebars. My Monday column will be on the promise and stunning athletic ability of Cordarrelle Patterson.
Like arguing about sports?
Then the Vikings did you a disservice on Sunday, during theri 42-14 loss.
They robbed of us of all interesting debates.
Now we know that Leslie Frazier and his staff will be fired, the Vikings will search for a new quarterback in the offseason, and, just as important, they will need to rebuild a defense that was whipped by the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday.
Before Andy Dalton, AJ Green & Co. went after Chris Cook, I hadn't seen a Vikings cornerback targeted and burned so frequently since Steve Smith rowed his boat after torching Fred Smoot in 2005.
Before Sunday, you could have argued that Frazier had his team ready to play under adverse circumstances, and that the Vikings performed their best when Cassel started. Both statements were true as of 11:59 a.m. on Sunday. Sunday's result doesn't make those statements false; it just makes them irrelevant.
This was the kind of game that makes it easy for an owner to clean house.
Please read our full coverage in the Star Tribune and on Startribune.com, complete with videos, analysis, features and sidebars.
I'll be on WJON in St. Paul at 7:15 Monday, and on 1500ESPN at noon.
My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
Greg Jennings caught 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Which is one way to prove that he hasn't entered the witness protection program.
The Eagles were hot, and had desirable matchups all over the field against the injury-riddled Vikings, and yet the Vikings won, 48-30, on Sunday at the Metrodome.
It's remarkable how differently the Vikings function with Matt Cassel at quarterback instead of Christian Ponder. With Casel in the pocket, the Vikings' receivers look more than good enough. Unlike Ponder, Cassel doesn't rely on tight ends, or a strong running game, for production.
The Eagles are not a good defensive team, but their offense has been dynamic with Nick Foles at quarterback. Sunday, the Vikings not only won without their top two running backs and top two tight ends, they won without their top three cornerbacks.
If the Vikings' braintrust was intent on firing Leslie frazier and dumping all of their quarterbacks, this game might cause a little reconsideration. Frazier has had the Vikings playing hard all season. With better cornerback play and a better defensive coordinator, they might be in contention. And when Frazier has the benefit of decent quarterback play, the offense is good enough to win.
I'll be on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:15 a.m., and on 1500ESPN at noon tomorrow to talk Vikings.
My twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a finishing flurry quite like the one in the Vikings' 29-25 loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
It's remarkable how hard the Vikings hsve played in the weeks since it seemed their season was doomed. What I'll explore in my Monday column is why it took so long for this coaching staff to put its best players on the field. With Matt Cassel at quarterback, Cordarrelle Patterson starting at receiver and Xavier Rhodes starting at corner, this is a competent team, a team that could be at or near .500 and theoretically in the playoff race if those players had started earlier this season.
This was a Vikings team that made all those dramatic plays with its backup quarterback, backup running back, and a lot of backup defenders on the field.
We'll have extensive coverage in the Monday paper and on startribune.com, complete with videos.
We'll also update Adrian Peterson's health as soon as possible after the game, Indications now are that he has a sprained ankle and nothing more. It will be interesting to see whether Leslie Frazier plays him next week, or lets Toby Gerhart have a start.
My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib.
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