Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he talked to the team about his tenuous job status on Tuesday morning, believing the situation had become the “elephant in the room” in recent weeks and wanting to make sure players focus solely on Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.
Frazier could be in his final week as the Vikings’ coach; the team is 4-10-1, and as ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported on Sunday, the team has been inquiring about potential replacements for Frazier, whose contract expires after the 2014 season. After the Vikings’ 42-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, running back Adrian Peterson said he planned to talk to Vikings ownership after the season and tell them Frazier should stay on as coach.
While Frazier appreciated the sentiment when he was asked about it Monday, he was telling his players by Tuesday to put it out of their minds for now.
“I just felt like I needed to get that addressed,” Frazier said. “Looking back at it, I probably should’ve dealt with it a week ago. I don’t want those guys to be distracted. I want them to focus on the opponent. I felt like we got a little distracted last week, and I want to make sure we’re all focused on one thing, and that’s winning this game against Detroit.”
Frazier said “my gut” told him the team was distracted before the Bengals game. He typically meets with a group of players each week to discuss issues pertaining to the team, but Frazier said he reached the decision to talk about his job on his own.
“Any time you go through a season that’s been as tumultuous as what we’ve had, there’s distractions on the outside of this building,” quarterback Matt Cassel said. “But I think the main point of what he was talking about today was focusing on what we needed to get done, and making sure we finish this season out strong.”
The fourth-year coach is popular among players, but his results have his job in danger; the Vikings are 20-32-1 since he took over for Brad Childress with six games left in the 2010 season, and they are 4-10-1 this season after going 10-6 and reaching the playoffs last year.
Vikings ownership picked up Frazier’s 2014 option after last season but would not discuss a long-term contract extension with Frazier’s agent, Bob LaMonte, at the time. Frazier said on Monday that neither he nor his agent had talked with the Vikings’ owners or general manager Rick Spielman about his job status.
- Previously covered Vikings for St. Paul Pioneer Press
- Also covered Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild and Washington Nationals
- Twin Cities native and University of Minnesota graduate