New Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier addressed the media absent the interim tag for the first time yesterday after being introduced by team owner Zygi Wilf.
Frazier made the point that him finally landing a head coaching gig with the Vikings after having interviewed seven times with other teams is, to borrow from Voltaire, the best of all possible worlds.
Considering the circumstances under which he takes the reigns, his optimism may at first glance appear Panglossian, but Frazier makes the point that his three year tenure with the team has equipped him with the knowledge of the organization and personnel that an outsider would not enjoy.
“This is the perfect situation for me,” he said, because he will not have to get up to speed on the organization. The same could be said for the team as well. Frazier can hit the ground running.
Though he said he would look at everything “from top to bottom,” Frazier didn’t get specific on any potential changes in his staff. He did say, however, that “we’ve got a great staff. We’ve got a lot of good guys on our staff and we’re going to try to make this work.” [EMPHASIS MINE.]
It sounds a little like he might be fairly satisfied with the staff on hand. One name that has been bandied about as a potential hire because he’s currently unemployed and because Frazier played with him on the Bears of the 80s, is the recently former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Mike Singletary.
One thing Frazier did make perfectly, definitively clear is that Brett Favre will not be back next season as a Viking. He pretty much slammed the door on that prospect.
“I cannot think of any circumstance where I would pick up the phone and say Brett, are you, you wanna come back next season. I can’t think of any circumstance where that would occur. At all.” [EMPHASIS FRAZIER’S.]
Asked if he would keep the West Coast system he’s inheriting, Frazier said he wants to “go back and evaluate where we are right now and what’s best for us going forward based on the personnel. I don’t want to be married to anything today. I want to really open it up and just make sure we’re doing the right thing that ensures that we have a great chance at being successful next fall.”
For Vikings fans, this, I think, was the most hopeful and encouraging thing he said.
Think back to 2006. New head coach Brad Childress took an offense built for the long ball and forced his West Coast system upon it. What he did not do is adapt his system to the personnel he had. And thus we had the frustration of going from a 9-7 team in 2005 to a 6-10 team in 2006 and all the friction in the subsequent years as Childress built the roster he wanted for his system.
It appears that Frazier will try and adapt the system to his players as he builds the team he ideally wants. It’s as smart a personnel move as it is a PR move.
And, if he pulls it off, it will show some savvy football acumen.
Philosophically, Frazier wants to emphasize the run on both sides of the ball. Being able to run the ball well on offense and being able to stop the run on defense. Keep in mind where he comes from.
Frazier’s ’85 Bears had Sweet Walter Payton carrying the ball with Jim McMahon managing the offense. The defense featured Buddy Ryan‘s (a former Vikings defensive coordinator, by the way) hyper-aggressive 46 defensive scheme, which may bode well for Fred Pagac‘s future.
It also looks like the Vikings will look to draft a quarterback. “I think we all want to develop a young quarterback that we can build our franchise around. I mean that would be ideal, to find the next Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco.”
Huh?? Matt Ryan? Joe Flacco?
Not taking anything away from those two; they’re good quarterbacks but there are a couple other contemporary examples that one might reach for first. Tom Brady? Peyton Manning, perhaps?
An odd and funny choice of examples.
Joe Webb may very well be that young quarterback he wants to develop but I’d expect the Vikings take a quarterback somewhere in the draft.
It looks like the Triangle of Authority remains. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think a lot of the problems with the arrangement arose from the personality of Brad Childress and I’ve felt for a while that bringing in a Bill Cowher or Bill Parcells wouldn’t fly here, that culturally, they were a bad fit.
I guess I don’t have a problem per se with having a “final authority” type GM but I don’t necessarily have a problem with the structure as it is now, as well…now that Childress is gone.
So, we’ll see.