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Tuesday
Jul 22nd

Frazier hired as 8th Vikings coach

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frazier_leslie“The Super Bowl Shuffle” by the 1985 Superbowl Champion Chicago Bears was one of the greatest off-the-field highlights in the history of the NFL. The NFC North Division of the NFL (Vikings, Bears, Packers, Lions) is perhaps the most historic of all the divisions. The teams and their fan bases know each other well, and thus they all know when they see a good thing within the division. Brett Favre may have been the greatest example of a good thing to come along in the NFC North – and with all the fanfare to go with him. Leslie Frazier was a much less celebrated member of the stellar ’85 Bears team, and he still garners much less fanfare as a coach. But as a people watcher, I’ll say that the quiet, steady, genuine, and watchful nature of Leslie Frazier, coupled with his front line Superbowl experience, seems to provide the elements for a success story in the making.

Viking fans benefited from the steady workings of their teams’ ownership, as they transitioned from the volatility of the end of coach Brad Childress’ reign. Though many desired rash actions, the Vikings ship remained steady. That steady hand continued all the way through to the end of the season, and resulted in smoothly taking the “interim” tag from Frazier’s name and installing him as the permanent head coach moving forward into the 2011 season.

Frazier was successful in leading a Vikings team with no hopes for the playoffs to a 2-3 record to end the season. Considering the turmoil that weather and other factors played into discombobulating anything and everything Vikings related, the team performed steadily in all of those games. Frazier is a key reason for that success.

Frazier has had a long wait to get his chance at head coaching, as he has been passed over for several jobs in recent years – though each time the interviewing team seemed impressed with him from general media responses. It is likely that for this reason Frazier seemed particularly emotionally fulfilled as he took the podium in the press conference introducing him as only the eighth head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

“This is a dream come true,” said Frazier. “Vikings fans are passionate fans and there is a hunger to bring a World Championship here,” Frazier continued. Having such extensive history within the Vikings division Frazier seems aware of what the football institutions in the region mean to the locals. In the emotion that showed through his attempts at restraint, Frazier conveyed a very genuine desire to lead the Vikings to ultimate success out of a sense of honor to everyone involved.

Recently, Frazier’s former superstar teammate on that celebrated ’85 Bears team, Mike Singletary, was fired as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Singletary, like many superstars – Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky to name a couple – was not able to curtail his former on-the-field intensity, in order to identify better with the needs of his players (or some would say). Frazier is similar to more successful coaches in major sports that played a supportive role on their superstar teams, back during their playing days. Phil Jackson and Pat Riley are examples of support players on championship teams of the past whom went on to coaching greatness. Often times it is the quiet, hard working players on the end of the bench that are able to best communicate with teams that are mostly composed of players like they used to be.

Leslie Frazier had a front row seat to the entire process that went into developing and executing one of the greatest seasons in NFL history – many easily consider the 1985 Bears to be the greatest team in any given year. Leslie Frazier has a one-in-a-million blueprint to draw from, and Adrian Peterson to boot. Exciting, but we’ll see.

Since Viking fans love to enter every season with supreme belief in their teams’ ability to win a Super Bowl, I suppose it’s not too early to consider potential Viking upgrades to the “Superbowl Shuffle”. And once again I find a way to evoke the name of His Purple Badness, Prince. Now imagine that
 

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