Souhan: Vikings' Frazier stays calm as troubles swirl, pressure mounts

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2013 - 12:27 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has handled his job gracefully.

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Vikings coach Leslie Frazier tried to keep things calm on Monday after his team's 27-23 loss to Dallas on Sunday.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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You wonder if Leslie Frazier would like to go back to the good ol’ days, when the Metrodome roof collapsed, a snowstorm stranded his team in Philadelphia and he was forced to make two trips in one season to Detroit, a clear violation of the NFL efforts to protect employees’ mental health.

Frazier won three games in that season, 2011. Somehow he kept his wits.

Now he is 1-7 and without a contract extension he probably felt due after making the playoffs last year. He is working without a proven quarterback, offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator, which, if he were a NASCAR driver, would be like driving on three flats.

In the last week or so, he is heard about his players second-guessing play-calling, and learned of two NFL head coaches, Denver’s John Fox and Houston’s Gary Kubiak, winding up in the hospital. Fox suffered a heart attack. Kubiak suffered what has been termed a “mini-stroke,” collapsing on the sideline at halftime.

Another of Frazier’s coaching peers, Miami’s Joe Philbin, is accruing blame for being the head coach of a roster that includes world-class lout Richie Incognito.

One of Frazier’s predecessors, Mike Tice, was fired in part because his players threw a wild party on a boat. Another, Brad Childress, was fired in part because he burned bridges within the organization.

Frazier has worked for renowned workaholic Andy Reid and reluctant workaholic Tony Dungy. He played for Mike Ditka. Frazier has gained a clear understanding of the requirements of the job:

Win games. Manage public perception. Hire excellent lieutenants. Get along with your bosses. Take responsibility for the actions of about 60 young men who possess fame, free time and discretionary income. Win more games. And remain healthy enough to withstand the strains of the job.

Frazier has handled winning, losing, controversy, criticism and career worries with grace.

How?

“I’ve been thinking about it more and more after what happened to Gary, who is a good friend, and then John,’’ he said. “This job can overwhelm you with responsibility. It’s a lot more than just the X’s and O’s. I still try to get a workout in at some point. I still try to communicate with someone outside the building who can provide advice and balance.

“I still get on my knees and pray to the Lord to help me to make good decisions each day. But it can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re going through a difficult season, like Gary has had in Houston.’’

Joe Gibbs, maybe the greatest coach who ever lived, won three Super Bowls with three quarterbacks. Gibbs also might have damaged the home lives and health of thousands of coaches. He made it fashionable to sleep in the office.

Frazier doesn’t do that. “I wish I could get home at a regular time, but I can’t always say I’m actually going to leave at a certain time,’’ he said. “I don’t care how long I stay, I’m going home.’’

This week, he asked some of his key players to voice their complaints only within the organization. In his seven years with the Vikings, Frazier has lost his temper publicly perhaps only once, when he and Jared Allen argued on the sideline when Frazier was the defensive coordinator.

Does Frazier ever lose control behind the scenes?

“If I’m frustrated by something, I’ll let our players know,’’ he said. “But I don’t know if I ‘lose it.’ I hope not.”

The alleged brutal treatment of Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin by his teammate Incognito has bared the reality of the NFL life. Frazier doesn’t allow hazing. He treats his players like men. He tries to live a balanced life.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 51 2nd Half 2:15
Washington 74
Washington St 3 1st Half 12:52
UC Santa Barbara 8
Baylor 29 2nd Half
Memphis 32
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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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 Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
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Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
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