Reusse: Frazier may be latest mistake of hasty Wilfs

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 7, 2011 - 12:35 PM

The Vikings owners have been quick with the trigger, but the results suggest patience from the start would have worked better.

hide

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier went 3-3 as interim coach last year, but he's 2-10 since getting the job full-time.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Dennis Green was fired as the Vikings coach with one game remaining in the 2001 season. Mike Tice coached that game and wound up getting the job as Green's replacement.

The Vikings went from 5-11 in Green's last season to 6-10 for Tice in 2002. From there, Tice had these results:

2003: 9-7, and missing the playoffs on the last play of the season; 2004: 8-8, and backing into the playoffs and then upsetting Green Bay at Lambeau Field; and 2005: 9-7, which wasn't good enough for the playoffs.

There was also this: Owner Red McCombs was getting ready to sell the team, so Tice was low-balled at every turn for 2005 -- including the attempt to retain Scott Linehan as the offensive coordinator.

Zygi Wilf had completed the purchase of the Vikings in late May. And Wilf was so eager to play owner that he fired Tice in an anteroom at the Metrodome, 20 minutes after the Vikings had defeated Chicago in the final game of the 2005 season.

It was a hasty decision -- based on the "Love Boat" embarrassment and Tice's ticket-scalping indiscretion, rather than an understanding that Tice could be a successful coach if given a fully funded roster and coaching staff.

The "can't-wait" approach with Tice was the start of a pattern. Zygi and his brother Mark met with Brad Childress, an assistant from Philadelphia, and decided immediately that he was the coach they wanted.

They gave perfunctory interviews to Ted Cottrell and Jim Caldwell, to satisfy the Rooney Rule, and then announced the hiring of Childress on Jan. 6, five days after Tice was fired.

To further demonstrate the Wilfs' level of due diligence, they hired Fran Foley in January to direct player personnel, and fired him in early May right after the draft.

It was a four-season climb, and it took the addition of Brett Favre, but Childress had the Vikings in the NFC title game at the end of the 2009 season.

One year later, Favre was acting his age as a quarterback, a desperate reach for Randy Moss had proven to be folly, and there were chants of "Fire Childress'' in the Metrodome.

As with Tice earlier, Zygi didn't pause to look at the big picture. He fired Childress with a 3-7 record -- and 10 months after the dramatic loss to the Saints.

Leslie Frazier coached the last six games of 2010 and went 3-3. He was given points for this, since the collapse of the Metrodome roof and a postponed game in Philadelphia caused a chaotic season-ending schedule.

Still, we have to ask: A) Did the Wilfs take a hard look at whether Frazier's phlegmatic manner would translate to being a head coach? And B) Did they interview other candidates, simply as a comparison to what Frazier had to offer?

The answers were A) no and B) no.

And remember, the Wilfs hadn't conducted an actual search when hiring Childress in 2006, so what we had were guys very experienced at selecting property managers and with thin résumés in taking a serious look at coaching candidates.

The Wilfs were hasty in firing Tice. They were hasty in hiring Childress. They were hasty in giving Childress a four-year contract extension at mid-season of 2009. They were hasty in firing Childress a year later because of hoots inside the Dome.

And, especially, they were hasty in giving a three-year contract to Frazier based on rookie quarterback Joe Webb winning a postponed game that he shouldn't have in Philadelphia.

The latest of these hasty decisions looks to be the worst. As a head coach, Frazier has the same overmatched aura as the Vikings' previous Les -- Steckel, the one-year wonder (3-13) of 1984.

It's one thing to have well-lubricated spectators chanting "Fire Childress" in a season of big disappointment. It's another to leave knowledgeable football guys shaking their heads from one Sunday to the next and muttering:

"What in the name of Marty Mornhinweg was Leslie thinking?''

Frazier is a nice fellow and a competent defensive coordinator, but as a head coach, well, put it this way:

The hasty twins, Zygi and brother Mark, would be far better off if Mike Tice was completing his 10th season on the job.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Dallas 6:30 PM
Detroit
Utah 6:30 PM
Miami
Orlando 6:30 PM
Boston
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Toronto
Memphis 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Portland
Houston 9:30 PM
Denver
Indiana 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 3:00 PM
St Francis-NY
James Madison 6:00 PM
Ball State
SIU Edwardsville 6:00 PM
Campbell
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida State
Catawba 6:00 PM
George Mason
Ferrum 6:00 PM
High Point
Hampton 6:00 PM
Illinois
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
Longwood 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Arkansas State 6:00 PM
Miss State
Tennessee 6:00 PM
NC State
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Robert Morris 6:00 PM
Toledo
Char Southern 6:00 PM
Wofford
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Barber-Scotia 6:00 PM
NC Central
Detroit 6:30 PM
UCF
Liberty 6:30 PM
UNC-Wilmington
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
Denver
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
Houston
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Milligan 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
USC Upstate 7:00 PM
Memphis
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
Murray State
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Georgia State 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
TX-Pan American 7:00 PM
Saint Louis
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
SMU
Texas State 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
SC State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Chicago State 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Northern Colorado 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Winthrop 8:00 PM
Auburn
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Baylor
San Diego St 8:00 PM
Cincinnati
Eastern Mich 8:00 PM
Michigan State
Loyola Marymount 8:00 PM
Stanford
Incarnate Word 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Northeastern 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Central Arkansas 9:00 PM
New Mexico
Howard 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Portland 9:30 PM
UNLV
CS-Northridge 10:00 PM
Oregon
Grambling St 10:00 PM
Washington
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 2:00 PM
Campbell
Akron 3:30 PM
UCF
Richmond 3:30 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Montana 4:00 PM
Seattle
(7) Stanford 5:00 PM
Chattanooga
Florida A&M 5:30 PM
Southern U
Oklahoma 5:30 PM
(13) Duke
Savannah State 5:30 PM
Auburn
Northern Colorado 6:00 PM
South Florida
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Siena 6:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Vermont 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
(1) South Carolina 6:00 PM
Hampton
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Texas Southern 6:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Northwestern 6:00 PM
UNLV
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Appalachian St
NC Central 6:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Drexel 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Cincinnati 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Alabama State 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Morehead St 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
Arkansas State 6:00 PM
Kent State
American Univ 6:00 PM
Manhattan
UNC Greensboro 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Arkansas-Monticello 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Prairie View 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
McNeese State 7:00 PM
(3) Texas
Yale 7:00 PM
Wagner
Oakland 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Eastern Kentucky 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
SIU-Edwardsville 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
McMurry 7:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Portland 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
North Texas 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close