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Frazier named Vikings' full-time head coach

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By Eric Edholm

 

The Vikings and Leslie Frazier have agreed to a deal to make the former defensive coordinator and interim coach the full-time head man in Minnesota. The team signed him to a three-year contract.

"This is a great day for me and my family," Frazier said today at a news conference. "I couldn't think of a situation I'd rather be in than the one I'm in."

Following the dismissal of Brad Childress following a Week 11 loss to the Packers, Frazier took over and led the Vikings to a 3-3 record down the stretch, despite multiple quarterback injuries and a pair of weather problems that forced the team to reschedule and move game times and locations.

"Seeing our players stay together and fight through adversity the way they did was a learning experience for me," Frazier said.

Team officials huddled on Saturday and began the process of moving forward with Frazier. They announced the move on Monday.

"Leslie has tremendous character and knowledge of our players," owner Zygi Wilf said. "Very fortunate to have him on our staff, and he is the best man for the job."

This is the 51-year-old Frazier's first full-time NFL head-coaching job after spending 11 seasons as an assistant for the Eagles, Bengals, Colts and Vikings. He said Monday that he feels the team, which fell from an NFC championship game appearance in 2009 to 6-10 this season, is not far from contending for a title again.

"It's only a matter of time before we deliver what our fans expect and deserve, and that's a championship," he said.

The Vikings will undergo many changes this offseason, the first one apparently coming with the retirement of QB Brett Favre. Frazier said he could not "think of any circumstances where I would pick up the phone and ask him to play" next season.

The team also has several potential free agents, including LBs Chad Greenway and Ben Leber and DE Ray Edwards. Frazier said that in addition to personnel moves, there will be some organizational changes from a philosophy standpoint. He expects to hold the team more accountable for being at the team facility during OTAs and some of the voluntary workouts that Childress held when he was coach.

"We want to be a team first," Frazier said. "That means some guys are going to have to sacrifice some things this offseason to be a part of a team."

Over the past week, especially following the Vikings' upset victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia, it became clear the team was leaning toward keeping Frazier. Many thought other organizational changes might occur, such as in the front office, but Rick Spielman and Rob Brzezinski will retain their respective titles. One small change that could occur involves the final say about the roster. Frazier spoke about working closely with Spielman on personnel matters, but it appears that Frazier will not have final say over the 53-man roster the way Childress did.

Still, the Vikings feel in this case that Frazier is the right mix of change and carryover to make the Vikings feel comfortable about going forward with him at the helm.

"We understood his vision," Wilf said. "His vision of what he wants from his players and what he wants from this organization."

Frazier becomes the eighth head coach in Vikings team history.

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