Chip Scoggins: Enough already, Vikings, it's time to hire a GM

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 31, 2011 - 7:41 PM

The decision-by-committee approach is not going to work when a team is as broken as this one.

hide

Zygi Wilf needs to hire someone to run the Vikings football operation that everyone else can answer to.

Photo: McKenna Ewen, DML - Mckenna Ewen - Star Tribu

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

One year ago this week, Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf removed the interim tag from coach Leslie Frazier's title after determining, in their estimation, that he was "the best man for the job."

The owners declined to name a general manager at the same time, continuing with a model that allows Frazier and top executives to make important decisions based on open dialogue and consensus.

The time has come to scrap that organizational structure. Too much is at stake as the Vikings enter one of the most critical offseasons in their history, which doesn't even take into account their tenuous stadium situation.

The Wilfs need to hire a general manager to initiate a rebuilding project that has many tentacles. This action will require the owners to break from their normal way of operating a business. They believe in the power of collaboration.

The problem with decision-by-committee is that it fuels the perception that mistakes escape accountability, and it creates confusion over who's in charge. The Wilfs' current flow chart requires symmetry between themselves, Frazier, Rick Spielman and, at times, other executives. Maybe that works under ideal circumstances, but the Vikings are in a different place now.

They need one voice and one vision for how to fix a team that is broken. They need someone to come in -- blueprint in hand -- and say, "OK, this is how we're going to proceed. Any questions?"

The Wilfs should realize that model has worked wonders in other places. The success story of Ted Thompson in Green Bay is well-documented, the fact that he had a life-after-Favre plan and stuck with it, no matter how unpopular in some circles. Mickey Loomis built a Super Bowl champion and a dynamic offense in New Orleans.

This is not a novel idea. Others have publicly lamented the Vikings' lack of a GM. A greater sense of urgency exists now because the organization finds itself at a crossroads, amazingly in a worse spot than at the end of its 2010 soap opera season. The checklist of big-ticket issues to solve is longer than a country mile.

They must decide whether the offense should continue to revolve around Adrian Peterson, who faces a long recovery from knee surgery. Peterson no doubt will attack his rehabilitation in the same manner he does defenders, but it's fair to wonder what kind of player he will be once he returns.

And who will hand him the ball? Frazier said Christian Ponder remains the starter at quarterback, but the rookie's late-season struggles raised doubt about his status as the long-term future at that position. Joe Webb has outperformed Ponder in relief, prompting calls for an open competition this offseason.

The Vikings need a complete overhaul on defense, which could begin with coordinator Fred Pagac's removal. They also need to remake the secondary, bolster the linebacker corps and upgrade the interior of the line.

Frazier also indicated a possible change in schemes, which presumably would coincide with a new coordinator and different personnel.

All of those things must happen within the framework of reshaping the roster. They must decide what to do with a group of veterans -- Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Williams, Visanthe Shiancoe, Anthony Herrera, E.J. Henderson, Cedric Griffin -- who have meant much to the organization but might not be part of the rebuilding job.

The Vikings need to upgrade the talent. They could select as high as No. 2 overall in the draft and must be savvy with all their picks. This season's failures revealed a dearth of depth at key positions, the result of too many swing-and-misses on draft day.

The problem is, we don't know who bears ultimately responsibility. Is it Spielman, who oversees the draft as vice president of player personnel? Or former coach Brad Childress, who held final authority over the roster? Or someone else within the Triangle of Authority?

People approach personnel decisions from different perspectives. Coaches know they have a short shelf life, so they want to win now. Front-office folks tend to look at things through a longer lens. The failed Donovan McNabb experiment is a perfect example of what can happen when those two viewpoints collide.

Frazier has only two more seasons left on his contract after Sunday's finale against the Chicago Bears. He faced questions about his job security nearly on a weekly basis as the season fell apart. He can't afford to look long-term, but this rebuilding job isn't a quick fix. All the meetings in the world won't change that.

Teamwork and cooperation aren't bad things. And coaches and top executives absolutely should have input on decisions. In the end, though, everyone needs a boss.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

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
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
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
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
LSU 78 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 45
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: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close