After being just one play away from getting to the Super Bowl last year, the Vikings and Brad Childress did everything that they could do this offseason to bring Brett Favre back for one last shot at a Super Bowl. Things haven’t gone according to plan though in Minnesota. After dropping their second straight game to an NFC North foe this past weekend and losing their seventh game of the season, Zygi Wilf decided it was time for a change in Minneapolis.
Brad Childress was fired on Monday and Leslie Frazier will take over for the rest of the season. While Frazier has earned this shot and he has been in the running for a number of NFL jobs, the Vikings are out of the playoff picture and the move to fire Childress came a little bit too late for a team that went all-in this season.
Leslie Frazier joined KFAN in Minnesota with Dan Barreiro to talk about getting his opportunity to be a head coach under these tough circumstances, what he wants to bring to the Vikings for the rest of the season, what he thinks is the most important thing needed to be a good head coach, the expectations for the rest of the season, and why he decided to stick with Brett Favre.
On getting a head coaching job under these circumstances:
“Well you’re right it’s not quite like I envisioned it by any means, but these are the circumstances that we’re working under and I’m excited about the opportunity, I’m looking forward to working with our team, and hopefully helping us get this thing turned starting this week with Washington.”
On whether or not this was his goal:
“Yeah it was a goal of mine to one day to be a head coach in the National Football League, but as you mentioned, not quite under the current circumstances. Brad was extremely good to me and so many other on our staff, but at the same time I understand our team, I know where we are, and I have a good feel for what we have to do to get this thing going, and we need to get it started.”
On what he wants to bring to the Vikings as the Head Coach:
“One of the things that I want to do is to provide the guys with some stability from a leadership standpoint where they can just understand day-to-day this is what you’re getting into and this is what’s required. The most important thing is for me to challenge our players to perform at the level that we know they’re capable of performing at. We’ve got a lot of work to do, there’s some things that we’re going to do in practice that will hopefully gather some attention, but the most important thing is for every guy to come over here with a new sense of urgency and understanding that every player is being evaluated. Players, coaches, and its based on performance. If you take that attitude with the players that we do have, we should get some positive results.”
On the most important thing a coach has to do in the NFL:
“Managing people without question. You have so many different personalities, so many different backgrounds, and if you’re just an X’s and O’s guy, you can be a great X’s and O’s guy and you can have the greatest strategy in the world, but because you can’t relate to those players on a daily basis they’re calling you out. They want somebody that they know cares about them on a regular basis, that’s who they want to play for. It really doesn’t matter how much you know if they don’t think you care about them. They’re gonna only go so far and it’s not any different than when you’re in the workplace. Being able to manage and relate to people is everything. We’re in a people business in pro football, much like many other businesses.”
Why he decided to start Brett Favre:
“He gives us the best chance to win and that’s the bottom line in our business. You’re judged on wins and losses. We have to give him support on our football team and he knows the things that he has to correct to help us win and we’re going to address those in the days leading up to the Washington Redskins game. Hopefully the fans will be able to see that it was the right decision. I feel complete confidence that it’s the right decision and he’s going to be successful and so is our team.”
Listen to Leslie Frazier on KFAN here (Audio begins 16:00 into the podcast)