The Vikings fired Leslie Frazier as head coach, but his former assistants’ futures remain uncertain.
Although they’re still all under contract, they could be let go as well, depending on the future head coach. General Manager Rick Spielman spoke to all of the assistant coaches on Monday after Frazier’s firing and plans to meet with each one individually.
If any assistants want to join another staff, Spielman said they would need written permission to do so.
“I will look at that on a case-by-case basis to see if that permission is granted or not,” Spielman said.
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson pleaded for the organization to keep wide receivers coach George Stewart, who finished his seventh season on the Vikings’ staff and 25th season coaching in the NFL.
“That’s my coach; I never had a coach like him,” Patterson said. “He’s one of those coaches you don’t want to leave. I feel like he’s going to be a head coach somewhere and I promise you ... I hope he’s here next year. I feel like he needs to be here.”
Special teams coach Mike Priefer is another possible candidate the front office could deny permission to leave and keep on staff with the new head coach. In his second season with the Vikings, Priefer helped the team lead the NFL in punt return average (15.2) and finish seventh in kickoff return average (24.9).
Pondering the future
Players cleaned out their lockers a day after the Vikings’ 14-13 season-ending victory over the Detroit Lions. For some, that game might have marked the end of their tenure with the Vikings.
Cornerback Chris Cook, guard Charlie Johnson and defensive tackle Fred Evans are three of the 15 unrestricted free agents, but all three said they want to return.
“The ideal thing would be to stay,” Johnson said. “I’ve moved once in my career. I would like to not do that again, but that comes with the territory in this business.”
Johnson, 29, spent the past three seasons with the Vikings after five years with the Indianapolis Colts, missing just one game during his tenure.
He’s one of three unrestricted free agents on the offensive line (J’Marcus Webb and Joe Berger are the others), but the only starter.
Cook, 26, planned to speak with Spielman on Monday to discuss his future. The second-round pick in 2010 has spent four seasons with the Vikings without recording an interception.
“I’d love to come back, man; I love playing with my guys,” Cook said. Safeties “Jamarca [Sanford] and Harrison [Smith] are great guys, and I feel like our secondary could be one of the best in the league, especially if we stay together and build on our bond that we already have.”
Evans, 30, spent seven of his eight seasons with the Vikings after being released by the Dolphins following his rookie season.
“Hopefully, I played well, personally, enough to get an opportunity to get re-signed or sign somewhere else,” Evans said. “I’m very humbled by it, but we’ll see.”
The Vikings signed all six players on their practice squad to reserve/future free-agent contracts. That includes safety Brandan Bishop, cornerback Kip Edwards, tackle Kevin Murphy, defensive end Spencer Nealy, running back Bradley Randle and wide receiver Adam Thielen.
The final word
Kicker Ryan Longwell was cut by Spielman in 2012 after Blair Walsh was drafted, and Longwell (@4thandLongwell) took a shot at his former GM on Monday on Twitter: “So sorry to see Leslie Frazier go. Great coach, even better man of integrity. Too bad they fired the wrong guy up there.”