Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Pressure point: Vikings
By Kevin Seifert
Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Minnesota Vikings and why.
As the Vikings' interim coach in 2010, Leslie Frazier won three games and lost three games. Promoted to the permanent job shortly thereafter, Frazier was part of a 3-13 disaster in 2011 that prompted an organizational shift in power to general manager Rick Spielman and a significant overhaul of the roster.
So in sum, Frazier has a 6-16 record, is entering the second year of a three-year contract and will be asked to compete with a roster that is at least a year from legitimate contention. The team plays in arguably the NFL's toughest division, and he'll have a second-year quarterback in Christian Ponder, three new starters on the offensive line, a rookie place-kicker and first-time starters down the middle of his defense -- at nose tackle, middle linebacker and possibly both safety positions.
Oh, and Frazier's best player -- tailback Adrian Peterson -- is recovering from a serious knee injury suffered in December. Peterson insists he will be ready for the opening of the season, but the Vikings' medical staff has refused to confirm that timetable.
Frazier is a good person and a good coach, but that's a challenging series of obstacles for someone hoping to make it to a third season. At 6-16, the honeymoon period of his tenure is over. If nothing else, he'll be undermanned as he attempts to steer the team toward more victories.