Hartman: Dumping Frazier won't solve all of Vikings' issues

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 21, 2013 - 11:01 PM
hide

The Vikings are guaranteed to have a losing record for the third time in four seasons, but coach Leslie Frazier oversaw a playoff team a year ago and has a year remaining on his contract.

Photo: McKENNA EWEN • mckenna.ewen@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings are 3-2-1 over their past six games. By beating Cincinnati on Sunday and then defeating the Lions, who rarely win here, in the season finale, maligned coach Leslie Frazier could show why he is still the right man for the job, keeping the team competitive most of the season with four losses by a total of 12 points.

Considering all that, do you fire a coach who has one year left on his contract, on the basis of how close this team has come to having two playoff-caliber seasons in a row?

No, close doesn’t count, unfortunately. But I’ve watched more Vikings games than anybody around and would conclude that this has also been one of the unluckiest teams in franchise history.

So if you’re Zygi and Mark Wilf, do you make Frazier the third coach you’ve fired in nine years — including Mike Tice and Brad Childress — and hire someone who is going to demand a long-term contract for a lot of money? And if he is a coach who is in high demand by other teams, the Vikings might not interest him.

I can’t believe the Wilfs would keep Frazier unless he made some changes in the defensive coaching staff, which has been in charge of a once-stellar unit that has blown so many close games this year. Even the players have complained about the play-calling, especially in the last-minute loss at Dallas, where the Cowboys marched 90 yards in just over two minutes for the winning score.

However, if the Wilfs decide to keep Frazier but insist on defensive changes, tell me: How many good assistant coaches will take a job here working for a head coach who has a one-year contract?

No doubt people in the Vikings front office believe the Vikings personnel is better than the team’s record shows. Look at a player such as Audie Cole, a 2012 seventh-round pick who warmed the bench all year, was released for one week in November, then brought back and put into the lineup, where he turned out to be a pretty good starting linebacker.

Then you have the case of some half-dozen substitutes playing well enough to dominate NFC East-leading Philadelphia last week.

The Wilfs have other problems if they want to hire a new coach. They would have to assure him that the key players among the 13 free agents are signed for 2014, to give the team a good nucleus.

This team will have a hard time replacing Jared Allen, Everson Griffen, Kevin Williams, Toby Gerhart and other pending free agents if they aren’t re-signed. On top of that is the fact that quarterback Matt Cassel needs to be re-signed, even though I’m in the minority that believes Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Frazier still believe that Christian Ponder will go to training camp next summer with a chance to be the No. 1 quarterback.

My sources are as good as any, and believe me, contrary to what has been written and broadcast and seen on the Internet, it’s not true that they have given up on Ponder.

Despite the fact that the Vikings have had two good drafts in a row — from this year’s draft class, first-round picks Cordarrelle Patterson and Xavier Rhodes have really come on strong this year, and there are some other players who will surface as quality players in the future — there remain a lot of holes on this team if it wants to be a Super Bowl contender.

Without a doubt, letting cornerback Antoine Winfield go this past offseason was a mistake for the Vikings, as he was really missed. They might have won some of those close games had he been in uniform — even though the word around Winter Park was that he no longer could be effective. The Vikings can’t make the same mistakes in regards to next year’s roster.

All of these contract and personnel issues will make it a very interesting offseason for the Vikings as they prepare for their first year at TCF Bank Stadium.

Firing Frazier won’t solve their problems. However, it’s clear something has to be done on defense, because you can’t lose that many games in the final seconds.

Teague starts fundraising

Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague brought Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany to town Monday night. Delany met with one potential group of contributors to the Gophers program for dinner on Monday, then met with another group for breakfast the next day. Delany sold some boosters on writing checks to make improvements to campus athletic facilities.

“Oh yeah, we’ve definitely raised some money,” said Teague, trying to raise $190 million for facilities upgrades. “We’re in, as they say, the silent phase right now. We plan to kick things off after the first of the year in January or February in an official way. The response has been good and I’m really happy about where we are and where we’re going.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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 Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close