Pro Football Weekly hits up PFW correspondent and Vikings beat writer Judd Zulgad to discuss five hot issues surrounding the team.
PFW: Looking back, was the OT win over the Cardinals a bad thing in that it probably delayed the inevitable with Brad Childress?
Zulgad: Yes, most definitely. The Vikings had to rally from 14 points down late in the fourth quarter after playing a lethargic game and it was clear they had just about quit on Childress at that point. No player took the opportunity to say they had won that game for Childress, instead saying it was for their teammates or themselves. Remember, the Vikings had back-to-back NFC North games against Chicago and Green Bay coming up and could have worked to salvage their season. That is probably no longer the case now that they are 3-7 and just about dead.
PFW: Could the Vikings' power structure in the front office change in the offseason?
Zulgad: Sure it could. The Vikings haven't had a general manager for many seasons and owner Zygi Wilf could decide it is time to put someone in charge of football operations. Brad Childress had control of the 53-man roster and had as much or more say than anyone over football matters before his firing but it was never clear how the roles were defined. Wilf might decide it's time to change that. Bill Parcells' name will be thrown out because Zygi Wilf was a lifelong Giants fan before buying the Vikings. Rick Spielman, the Vikings' vice president of player personnel, also would be in the mix.
PFW: In your estimation, what must Leslie Frazier do in the final six games to keep the job?
Zulgad: I don't think Frazier should be judged by his record because, at 3-7, it's going to be a long road to turn this thing around. I think what needs to be considered is the effort that is given under Frazier, how he goes about running the team in practice on a day-to-day basis and how he communicates with players about issues on and off the field. Now if Frazier had been named the coach before the Vikings played Chicago and Green Bay it might have been different because Minnesota could have made a legitimate playoff run. Of course, if the Vikings hire a GM-type the whole operation might be blown up.
PFW: Who is handling the defensive calls?
Zulgad: Don't know at this point. We will have to find out if it's Frazier or new defensive coordinator Fred Pagac, who had been the linebackers coach. Frazier will remain very involved with the defense no matter what happens.
PFW: Did the Jason Garrett 2-0 start in Dallas have any effect whatsoever on Zygi Wilf's decision?
Zulgad: Perhaps it did, but what really impacted them was seeing the Vikings embarrassed by a 31-3 score on Sunday against their archrival, the Packers, at the Metrodome. The Vikings played another poor game on the field and the bickering on the sideline — not to mention frustrated players throwing their helmets — was an indication that chaos had taken over in a season that has been filled with it. Childress had never been a popular figure in Minnesota and what happened Sunday served as a clear indication it was time to make a move. I think if the Dallas situation played a role at all it was the fact that Garrett's first game as a head coach was a victory over the Giants, the team the Wilfs were big fans of before buying the Vikings.