Whenever a team suffers a toughoss or even worse a tough season everyone looks to and blames the Coaching staff.
And the loss the Minnesota Vikings had on Sunday is no different. With the exception that Head Coach Leslie Frazier actually agrees with you.
Frazier feels that the distraction of “will he stay or go” dilemma being played out in the media is one of the reasons the Vikings were blownout on Sunday by the Cincinnati Bengals. And On Tuesday morning Frazier brought it up in team meeting.
“It’s like the elephant in the room,” Frazier said. “I just felt like I needed to get that addressed. Looking back at it, I probably should have dealt with it a week ago. I don’t want those guys to be distracted. I want them to focus on their opponent.”
The 42-14 is the worst loss this season for the 4-10-1 Vikings– which has led to even more questions about Frazier’s future.
“I felt we got a little bit distracted last weekend,” Frazier said. “I want to make sure we’re all focused on one thing. That’s winning this game against Detroit.”
Before Minnesota beat Philadelphia 48-30 on Dec. 15, CBSSports.com reported the Vikings already had contacted Penn State coach Bill O’Brien about possibly replacing Frazier. Frazier sidestepped a question after the game about that.
He also didn’t want to discuss his job situation following the loss at Cincinnati. But he was more open about it Tuesday.
“I guess if you (the media) talk about it, he’s going to have to talk about it,” safety Andrew Sendejo said.
Frazier said it was “just my gut” that made him feel his job situation played a role in the lopsided loss to the Bengals. But Sendejo, quarterback Matt Cassel, wide receiver Greg Jennings, defensive end Brian Robison and kicker Blair Walsh all said they didn’t believe it was a distraction.
“I think he just doesn’t want it to become a distraction, and I can only speak for myself when I say this, but I don’t think it’s a distraction at all,” Cassel said. “I think any time you go through a season that’s been as tumultuous as we’ve had, there’s distractions on the outside of the building, and if you let it become a distraction, it will. The main point of what he was talking about (Tuesday) was just focus on what we need to get done and finishing this season out strong.”
Frazier has a 20-32-1 record with the Vikings since taking over midway through the 2010 season. After he drove the Vikings to a 10-6 season and a playoff berth in 2012, he was not given a contract extension. But his 2014 option was picked up.
“Just concentrate on this game plan and this opponent,” Frazier about Tuesday’s message to his team. “Take care of what we can take care of. Let’s keep our focus there.”
Jennings said after the Bengals game he hopes Frazier returns next season. He said Tuesday he doesn’t believe players are thinking about their coach’s future heading into Sunday’s game.
“I don’t think guys are worried about coach’s job,” Jennings said. “I think we’re here to do a job, and I think everybody in the building, that’s what we have to do. That’s the mind-set we have to have.”
Walsh said he did not believe it was necessary for Frazier to bring up his job situation with the team.
“I don’t think it’s something that we needed to hear,” said Walsh, a second-year player. “I think everybody knows the situation. Coach Frazier is an awesome guy, and he’s an awesome coach, in my opinion. He’s the one who gave me a chance in this league, and I’ll forever be grateful to him for that.”
With one game left of this painful season, the Vikings are definitely looking forward to next year. And from the sounds of it, they’re rallying around Frazier to come back.