NFL: Vikings aware that Frazier is hot coaching prospect
By Chip Scoggins and Judd Zulgad
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was unavailable for comment Sunday, but his players said they’re not surprised he’s become a hot coaching candidate again this offseason. They also are not worried his candidacy will interfere with his playoff preparations this week.
Frazier interviewed with the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks for their head coaching vacancies this past week. He has interviewed for seven head coaching jobs the past three years, so his players believe it’s only a matter of time before he leaves.
“We know the quality of coach and person that he is,” linebacker Ben Leber said. “He’ll be a head coach soon.”
Leber said Frazier did not discuss the situation with players when they returned from their bye on Sunday.
“It’s his business,” Leber said. “I think everybody has read about it or heard about it. Nothing really needs to be said.”
Players said they’re happy Frazier is a candidate, but that it won’t affect their preparation for Sunday’s playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.
“It’s a great thing for him but we’re not worrying about it right now,” defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. “Hopefully he can get him a job after the season. Right now he’s my defensive coordinator and hopefully he’s doing everything he can to get us to win this game.”
Per NFL rules, Frazier was allowed to interview last week because the Vikings had a bye in the playoffs. Vikings coach Brad Childress gave his assistants several days off late in the week so Frazier’s interviews didn’t interfere with his preparation.
“You know you have the right guys on your staff with people wanting to talk to them,” Childress said. “They’ve excelled in their field and wish them nothing but the best of luck. As Leslie knows, I’ll help him in any way that’s possible for me to help him.”
Childress offered his input regarding the Seattle interview after several media outlets reported the Seahawks either have a deal in place or are close to hiring USC coach Pete Carroll as head coach. That fueled the belief that Seattle officials wanted to sit down with Frazier merely to satisfy the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching openings.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters in Cincinnati on Saturday that Seattle officials were in compliance with the rule.
Childress said Seattle faxed in their official request to interview Frazier, and then the head coach shared his thoughts on the situation with Frazier.
“I have the wheels turn in my brain with how I think it’s going down, and then I share that with Leslie,” Childress said. “In the long run, it’s up to Leslie to determine whether he does or doesn’t talk.”
“It’s really for the guy who’s being interviewed to decide, what he feels like the intentions are,” Childress added. “Is it a legitimate deal? Does he feel like it’s a good conversation? Those are all things you try to ferret out before you get interviewed.”
—The Vikings held a light practice Sunday after getting nearly a week off to rest. Every player participated in practice, including backup defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who had his left hand heavily wrapped. The Vikings do not have to issue an injury report until Wednesday. “There’s a little more pep in their step right here, just from the time off their feet,” Childress said.