Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is returning this weekend to the place where he got his first NFL coordinator’s job. He will coach against the guy who fired him from that job.
Frazier served as defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals for two seasons, 2003 and 2004. His boss, Marvin Lewis, fired him after the Bengals finished 19th in total defense and 21st in scoring defense in 2004.
Frazier expressed no lingering hard feelings toward Lewis when asked about their relationship Wednesday.
“I have a lot of respect for Marvin,” he said. “That entire Bengals organization, the Browns [family owners], they were terrific to me during my time there. Marvin and I see each other in the offseason. We have a good relationship. I’m always thankful for every place I’ve ever been in my career. Wherever I’ve been it’s always been a benefit, so I’m thankful for my time in Cincinnati.”
Lewis, in his 11th season in Cincinnati, told Bengals media Tuesday that he accepted blame for the problems that led to Frazier’s firing. Asked to elaborate Wednesday on what he meant by that, Lewis noted that he was in his first two seasons as a head coach and didn’t provide enough support to help Frazier do his job.
“At the time, it was just best for everyone involved,” Lewis said. “I think Les was frustrated. I think everybody was.”
Frazier on job security
In a national radio interview, Frazier said the media and other outside opinions influence owners in regards to a coach’s job security. Frazier’s comments came when asked if NFL teams show enough patience with coaches to get results, given the amount of turnover each offseason.
Frazier is signed through the 2014 season, but his job status has become a hot topic.
“It’s changed so much with the way the job has evolved over the years,” Frazier said on the SiriusXM Blitz show. “A lot of it has to do with the popularity of the sport. So many people with opinions, whether it’d be the Internet, talk radio, blogs. Whatever it may be and those different outlets, they seem to influence owners. I don’t know, you just have to be careful.
“I know Coach [Tony] Dungy and I talk about this all the time, the patience that franchises like the Pittsburgh Steelers and a few others have shown over the years and the results they’ve gotten from there, where they haven’t knee-jerked after a tough season with their coaches. It’s a good model, but it’s not one that everyone adheres to.”
On the mend
Adrian Peterson (foot sprain) and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) returned to practice on a limited basis. Cornerback Chris Cook (knee), guard Brandon Fusco (knee) and tight end John Carlson (concussion) also practiced, but cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) did not. All six missed Sunday’s victory over the Eagles.
Rhodes said he initially worried that he had broken his right ankle against Baltimore based on swelling after the game.
“You see your ankle like that, you’ll freak out,” he said. “At that moment, I was nervous. But now I’m good. It scared all of us when we saw that ankle.”
Rhodes’ status for Sunday’s game remains uncertain.