EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said on Friday that coach Leslie Frazier has the final call on who starts at quarterback for the 1-6 Vikings, and though he wouldn’t guarantee that Frazier will remain in his job for the rest of the season, he said Frazier “isn’t going anywhere.”
Spielman, speaking to reporters during a 45-minute state-of-the-team discussion at midseason, said the Vikings want to solidify their direction at quarterback by the end of the season, but reiterated the decision to sign Josh Freeman on Oct. 7 does not mean Christian Ponder is out of the team’s plans.
“If you’re not out there always looking and trying to find [a quarterback] until you actually find a Peyton Manning, then I feel you’re not doing your job,” Spielman said. “Our job is to be aggressive, to try and get that position solidified. Does that mean that Christian Ponder is not that [franchise quarterback]? I’m not saying that whatsoever.
“If he ends up being our starting quarterback, and you see him come on and see that he is playing consistently, then maybe he is the guy we’re going to go into the future with. But everybody tried to speculate that by bringing in Josh, this means Christian is done. That has nothing to do with anything. It was just an opportunity at a pretty critical position on your roster to take a look at some quality guys that are very young still for the position.”
The GM backed Frazier’s decision to start Freeman on Oct. 21 against the New York Giants, when Freeman went 20-of-53 for 195 yards after spending just two weeks in the system. He said he has “100 percent faith” in Frazier, and added he believes the Vikings have the pieces to get their season turned around.
Frazier, who led the Vikings from 3-13 in 2011 to 10-6 in 2012, is under contract through the 2014 season, but ownership decided to pick up the 2014 option in his deal rather than offer him a long-term extension after last season. That’s led to widespread speculation his job might be in jeopardy if the Vikings had a poor season.
Asked on Friday what would define a successful season, Spielman said, “Wins."
“We’re not in this business not to win. It’s just expected. You expect to go out and win and you expect to go out and win every week and that’s what this business is about, is getting wins.”
Spielman said, though, that he has no problems with the team’s effort on Sundays, and added that the team’s owners, Zygi and Mark Wilf, have expressed support for the organization’s direction in their conversations with him.
“They’re just like everyone. It’s been a rough start,” Spielman said. “But they’re in the same boat. We’re all in this together. We’re all supporting each other. And whatever roles we have in the organization, we’re going to work to try and get this thing turned around as quickly as we can. They’ve been very, very supportive.”