Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Minnesota Vikings beat:
Even in a post-Tony Dungy universe -- one where the former Indianapolis Colts coach proved you can be a gracious, soft-spoken man and still win as a NFL coach -- Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier doesn't quite fit the mold. Frazier played on one of the greatest defenses of all time (the 1985 Bears) but doesn't treat his players with the aggression he saw from his coaches on that team. He rarely, if ever, yells in public, and he refuses to spend his nights in his office.
That method has worked on Vikings players, who banded together behind Frazier to go 10-6 last season and who occasionally refer to the coach as a kind of father figure. "You don't want to disappoint your dad," linebacker Erin Henderson said in training camp, offering an explanation of why Frazier's style can work in the rough-and-tumble NFL.
But as nobly as Frazier has handled the chaotic start of the Vikings' season, he'll still need wins to stay on the job. He looks like a shining example of class and grace in what's been a bad week for NFL coaches striking a balance, writes Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, but he has to prove his way can work.
For those of us who deal with NFL coaches on a daily basis, Frazier is a breath of fresh air. He answers questions thoughtfully, treats people with respect and refuses to take himself too seriously. But he is also in charge of a team that is 1-7 and might need some manner of course correction on both offense and defense. It's tough to see many coaches surviving that, unless, like Frazier, his bosses are willing to break the mold set forth in a ruthless league.
Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:
The St. Paul Pioneer Press was only slightly kinder to the Vikings than we were, giving the team a F+ in its midseason grades.
The Vikings' new stadium is still on track for a summer 2016 opening, writes Janet Moore of the Star Tribune.
Chris Cook's injuries and lack of big plays will mean he'll go down as a bust in Minnesota, writes Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com.