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On Monday afternoon, the Vikings suprised absolutely no one when they named Leslie Frazier as their eighth head coach. Another coaching change for a team that has had three head coaches in the past six years.
On January 4, 2002, the Minnesota Twins named their 3B coach Ron Gardenhire as their new manager. He replaced Tom Kelly who had been manager since he replaced Ray Miller as Twins manager during the 1986 season. Kelly had been the Twins 3B coach prior to that.
On January 10, 2002, the Minnesota Vikings named Mike Tice their full time head coach. He had taking over the reigns from Denny Green a few weeks earlier. Tice's contract ran out after the 2005 season, and Brad Childress was brought in from outside the organization in January of 2006. As well all know, Mr. Childress was relieved of his duties six weeks ago. Frazier became the interim head coach and as had been anticipated for about the last year, he was named the team's head coach on Monday.
The Vikings have had three head coaches in the last six years and four head coaches in the past ten seasons. In the last decade the Vikings have made the playoffs three times. The Twins, on the other hand, have had two managers over the past 25 seasons. In the last decade, the Twins have been to the playoffs six times.
This blog is not to say that one ownership methodology is better than the other. The Twins practice and preach continuity and with it, they have remained an annual contender and playoff team in the AL Central. The Vikings have made several changes in the past decade. They have just three playoff berths, but their run to the NFC Championship game earlier this year was sure fun to watch. (Note - a good point raised is that the Vikings have had three ownership changes since 1998. It's difficult to run an organization on continuity when that is the case.)
The Twins ownership was known as frugal for a lot of years in the Metrodome, and rightfully so due to very low revenue streams. With the arrival of Target Field, the Twins have spent on payroll, increasing their payroll from just $65 million a few years ago to about $100 million in 2009 and upwards of $120 million in 2010. The Vikings have spent at least the salary cap in most of the years. In 2010, Zygi Wilf went way beyond the salary cap (in an un-capped season) in an attempt to "go for it." How did that go?
Will a new coach change the fortunes for the Vikings after one of the most disappointing seasons in the Vikings history? Brad Childress had lost his players completely. If there is one thing that will never happen, it is Twins players quitting on Ron Gardenhire.
There are a lot of similarities between the Vikings and the Twins. Some positive traits. Some negative traits. It will always be amazing for me that the Twins have been the much more successful team the past decade and yet this remains such a Vikings state and region.
Here's to Leslie Frazier being the right guy to take the Vikings back to the playoffs, and to Ron Gardenhire for hopefully being the guy able to take the Twins to that next level. All I know if 94 wins in the regular season is a pretty good place to be. Is one management philosophy better than the other? What has firing and re-hiring done for the Vikings? What has continuity done for the Twins?
Everyone can have a different opinion, and no one is right, and no one is wrong.
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