Steering the Vikings through the many possibilities and pitfalls of this great unknown season is a man who can make even the unflappable Tony Dungy seem just a little jumpy.
His name is Leslie Frazier and he's an NFL rarity: a rookie head coach with a list of on-the-job experiences that none of his peers has imagined in even the worst of nightmares.
On Nov. 22, 2010, Frazier was promoted from defensive coordinator to interim coach when Brad Childress' ready-made Super Bowl favorite crashed landed at 3-7 following a humiliating 31-3 home loss to the Packers. Over the next six weeks, Brett Favre's 19-year starting streak ended, the Metrodome roof collapsed, "home" games were played in Detroit and TCF Bank Stadium, and, oh yeah, bad weather in Philadelphia postponed a Sunday night game to Tuesday night.
Looking back on a 3-3 record that rid him of his interim tag on Jan. 3, Frazier is most proud of the way the players responded to him immediately.
"With all the things that were going on, we were at the absolute low point," Frazier said. "It was Thanksgiving week, and we were going on the road to play at Washington. We hadn't been very good on the road."
The Vikings had lost nine consecutive road games. They beat the Redskins 17-13.
"I don't think people really understand what that took," Frazier said. "A short week, a coaching change, a road game. And to win? That's taking my hat off to our players."
Despite losing Favre to a shoulder injury on the opening series the following week, the Vikings defeated Buffalo 38-14 at the Metrodome.
The following week, both the Dome roof and Favre's streak collapsed.
"There are so many guys who aren't successful when they become interim coaches," Frazier said. "But I didn't get overly concerned by that.
"I just believed that if I was in that role, things were going to work out. That's how I feel now. I want us to win a championship, and I believe things are going to work out that way."