The Minnesota Vikings are in the market for a new coach.
While the Browns got a head start on Black Monday last night, we have our first firing of the day, as Leslie Frazier has been let go by the Vikings. The Vikings announced the move via their Twitter feed moments ago.
“Unfortunately, we did not achieve consistent success and did not achieve the progress we expected,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. “We believe a coaching change is needed to help build a successful team moving forward.”
The Vikings fell off a cliff this year, following an impressive playoff run with a 5-10-1 mark. That left Frazier 21-32-1 in three years and change with the team.
I thought Frazier would be fired since the first quarter of the second game of the season. I couldn’t believe he chose to start Christian Ponder after it became perfectly clear, in the first game, that Ponder is a backup quarterback. Combined with some serious coaching cowardice that demonstrated his inability to play the percentages as well as some truly strange player selections, I never saw any reason to keep him as a head coach besides the fact that he is a good and decent man.
One of the more remarkable things about the NFL is the inability of coaches to make reasonably quick decisions. They always seem to have to wait until something is inescapably obvious to even the most casual fan before making a decision. It’s eminently clear that many of them are not as intelligent as their quarterbacks.
I don’t have a strong opinion on any of the potential candidates except Jack Del Rio. It would be a huge mistake to hire him, as he is not only a previously failed coach, but a man of suboptimal character as well. One can perhaps excuse that sort of thing if you’re getting a Darth Hoody, but Del Rio is hardly Belichick.
Ken Whisenhunt struck me as a pretty good coach when he had a quarterback. Of course, after his post-Warner experience in Arizona, he might be less than enthusiastic about the situation in Minnesota.
Some think Spielman should go, but I don’t think so. He made some brilliant roster moves, including dumping Percy Harvin at precisely the right time. He blew it on Ponder, (a pick that was completely inexplicable at the time), but he’s neither the first nor last to miss on a first-round QB. I very much like that he isn’t overly enchanted with the Vick-style Quarterback 2.0 types, so it won’t surprise me if he gets the next one right.