When players for the Minnesota Vikings arrived to Winter Park Monday morning for their final meeting they learned that Leslie Frazier was fired as their head coach.
Multiple players have voiced their support for Frazier so many of them was upset with the fact that he was let go. But most were not surprised at the firing of Frazier because many of them already knew via social media and television before hearing it from owners. Rick Spielman and Zygi Wilf did reportedly address the team about the coaching move this morning.
Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson said, “I wish it didn’t happen…[Frazier is] like a father figure.”
Patterson added, “He’s like a father to me. He’ll talk to you about everything. He talked to us today, hard for him to give a speech.”
Jerome Felton also voiced support for Frazier, saying, “It’s disappointing. We finished the season strong.” Felton characterized the final meeting with Frazier as “emotional and depressing.”
Jarius Wright echoed Felton’s sentiments. “It’s sad. I wish the best for Frazier,” said the Vikings receiver. “It’s a very sad day for the players. I’ll miss Frazier a lot. Great guy, great coach. Wouldn’t say you could replace a guy like that.”
Harrison Smith said of the firing, “It’s a harsh business. We all love coach Frazier as a coach, as a man. We feel like we let him down a little bit. At least we finished it off with a win.”
Jamarca Sanford admitted that he teared up in the meeting but said Frazier never did. “He’s a strong man,” Sanford said of Frazier’s taciturn manner.
Another vocal pro-Frazier player, Brian Robison, put the onus on himself and the players. “You never want to see anyone get fired. What matters in this league is winning ball games,” Robison said. “We need to do a better job winning games.”
Christian Ponder also took some of the blame for Frazier’s fall. ”I didn’t play well enough to keep my job, it stinks to know that contributed to this,” Ponder said. ”I don’t think there’s a better person than coach Frazier in the NFL.”