Craig: Frazier well-versed in handling adversity

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 16, 2013 - 10:14 AM
hide

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has turned to Romans 8:28 for motivation. “I hold on to that verse, especially in tough times like this,’’ he said.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It’s late January, 1986, and Leslie Frazier is lying in a hospital bed with shredded knee ligaments suffered during a punt return in the Bears’ 46-10 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

“The doctors had just come into my room,” Frazier said Monday. “And they told me, ‘You may not be able to come back, and if you do come back, you may not be the player you were before this injury.’ ”

Frazier never came back. At least not as a player. Today, he’s the Vikings’ head coach. In late January, 1985, he was a frightened 25-year-old soon-to-be ex-NFL player.

“For me, I have to rely on my faith,” Frazier said. “That was a tough time. I was lying there searching through scriptures trying to find a verse to help me when I was in that hospital bed.”

Frazier found one that would stick in his mind for the next 23 years — and counting.

“Romans 8:28,” Frazier said. “It goes, ‘All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.’ I hold on to that verse, especially in tough times like this.”

Yes, times are tough. Boy oh boy, are they tough. So tough that Frazier is 1-4 for the second time in three years. So tough that his team just came out of a bye week and suffered a humiliating 25-point loss at home to a one-win Panthers team.

There have been no public declarations from ownership or General Manager Rick Spielman that Frazier is in danger of losing his job. But common sense and the team’s decision not to reward Frazier with a multiyear extension after last year’s 10-win playoff season suggests that Frazier needs to pick it up ASAP or his seat will become increasingly warm.

He knows that. You don’t coach football 26 years and not know that.

“What I do in that situation is concentrate on that one particular week and what you have to get done with your football team,” said Frazier, whose contract runs only through the 2014 season. “You really can’t look ahead or, like I told our team, you can’t look back either. I can’t control what upper management is thinking or how they’re thinking or what they’re reading or what they’re hearing. But I can have an effect on our team.”

Frazier’s team has surprised us in tough times before. He inherited a 3-7 team and finished 3-3 as an interim coach in 2010. In 2011, the Vikings went to Washington on Christmas Eve and won a meaningless game that ultimately cost them the draft pick that would have landed Robert Griffin III. And last year, the Vikings lost four of five games to fall to 6-6 before finishing 4-0 against four teams that had a combined 40-23-1 record a year ago.

Romans 8:28. That’s what’s going through Frazier’s mind along with all the X’s and O’s and that weekly quarterback decision.

“The verse tells me that even though this seems tough, things will work out,” Frazier said. “You just need to hold on and walk by faith. But, yeah, it can be challenging, for sure.”

Indeed. Things looked challenging Sept. 29 when the Vikings lost at home to a winless Browns team that had just traded running back Trent Richardson and promoted their No. 3 quarterback to starter. But even that seven-point loss couldn’t measure up to fans fleeing the Metrodome with the Vikings trailing the Panthers 35-3 in the fourth quarter.

“That was a tough one, a tough one,” Frazier said. “I can’t put my finger on why we didn’t play better.”

The offense moved the ball 41 yards on the opening drive. But then Matt Cassel overthrew Greg Jennings and was intercepted. Then the defense sacked Cam Newton on third-and-9 on Carolina’s third offensive snap. But the Panthers still got a first down thanks to a holding call on cornerback Chris Cook.

“We got off to a good start,” Frazier said. “We moved the ball and we would have been off the field on defense. But then Carolina got some confidence and it was tough from there.”

Romans 8:28.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Golden State 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Phoenix 6:30 PM
Miami
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 7:30 PM
Dallas
Nashville 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Carolina 7:30 PM
Chicago
Montreal 9:00 PM
San Jose
Virginia 0 1st Half 17:37
Syracuse 0
Baylor 6:00 PM
Texas
Hampton 6:30 PM
Delaware State
Norfolk State 6:30 PM
Howard
Bethune-Cookman 6:30 PM
NC A&T
SE Louisiana 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Central Arkansas 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Lamar 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Nicholls 7:00 PM
New Orleans
NC Central 7:00 PM
Savannah State
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Texas Southern 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Prairie View 7:30 PM
Alabama State
Jackson State 7:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Grambling St 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Boston College 8:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bethune-Cookman 34 2nd Half 17:21
NC A&T 31
Hampton 67 2nd Half 6:03
Delaware State 48
Norfolk State 54 2nd Half 5:15
Howard 45
NC Central 26 2nd Half
Savannah State 39
Texas Southern 30 1st Half 6:13
Alabama A&M 19
Prairie View 6 1st Half 7:00
Alabama State 18
Jackson State 5:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Grambling 2 1st Half 10:30
Miss Valley St 23
Tulsa 0 1st Half 19:05
Cincinnati 2
(1) Connecticut 0 1st Half 20:00
South Florida 0
UCF 3 1st Half 19:27
East Carolina 0
Central Conn St 6:00 PM
Bryant
Wagner 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Fairleigh Dickinson
St Francis-NY 6:00 PM
Long Island
Mount St Marys 0 1st Half 18:42
St Francis-PA 7
Temple 7:00 PM
Houston
Texas Tech 7:00 PM
(6) Baylor
Iowa State 7:00 PM
Kansas
SMU 7:00 PM
Memphis
Oklahoma 7:00 PM
Oklahoma St
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 NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close