For most of his tenure with the Vikings, Leslie Frazier has had a long title. It started as defensive coordinator, which isn’t so long, but was modified to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator following his promotion in 2008. Then following Brad Childress’ dismissal in November, Frazier’s title changed to interim head coach.
Now, it’s a lot shorter. And better.
Frazier is now Vikings Head Coach after he and the Vikings reached an agreement that makes him the 8th head coach in franchise history. Frazier is a 23-year coaching veteran – 12 at the NFL level – and he takes the reins of the team after serving as defensive coordinator from 2007-2010.
Frazier got a head start in his new role when the Vikings named him interim head coach on November 22. The Vikings went 3-3 with Frazier as the interim boss (including 2-1 on the road after losing the previous 9 consecutive away games), but more notable than the record was the grace with which Frazier guided the organization through a tumultuous month of December that saw the Mall of America Field at the Metrodome roof collapse, a home game moved to Detroit, another home game moved to TCF Bank Stadium and then a 3-day postponement in Philadelphia due to a severe winter storm over the Christmas Holiday.
Considering how well the organization and team operated through that stretch of adversity, Vikings owners Zygi, Mark and Lenny Wilf, as well as the entire ownership group and organization, are anxious to watch their new head coach in action under regular circumstances.
Frazier has a broad and complete perspective on the NFL, having served as botha player, an assistant coach and an (interim) head coach. He was a DB for the Chicago Bears from 1981-86, including on the 1985 Bears Super Bowl-winning team. He also won a Super Bowl as an assistant coach with the Indianapolis Colts following the 2006 season.
A man of great faith with a level-headed approach to coaching, Frazier is often compared to his former boss in Indianapolis – former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy. Frazier embraces that comparison and will undoubtedly look to apply those traits to his new job in Minnesota. But Frazier will also draw upon his experiences in Minnesota since 2007 to aide him in building his program with the Vikings.
Frazier’s defense led the NFL in 2009 with 48 sacks and the team entered the 2010 season ranked 3rd in the NFL with 131 sacks. The Vikings defense ranked #6 in the NFL in 2009 and also had a top-10 ranking in 2010, marking the first time the Vikings have boasted a top 10-ranked defense in 3 consecutive seasons since 1992-94.
In 4 full seasons as defensive coordinator, Frazier has helped his players achieve at a high individual level as well, with 5 players earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and 5 players also earning 10 different Pro Bowl berths.
Frazier came to Minnesota after coaching DBs with Indianapolis and serving as Special Assistant to Dungy for 2 seasons. The 2006 Colts defense clamped down on opponents throughout the playoff run that brought the franchise its first Super Bowl title since 1970. The team notched 7 INTs, 8 sacks and took away 6 fumbles. The Indianapolis defense allowed only 2 second-half TDs in the 4 postseason games and held the Bears out of the endzone for the final 3 quarters of Super Bowl XLI en route to the win.
Prior to his tenure in Indianapolis, Frazier served as defensive coordinator with Cincinnati in 2003 and 2004 and his NFL coach debut game in Philadelphia from 1999-2002 as an Eagles DBs coach.
Prior to coaching on the NFL sidelines, Frazier spent 11 seasons at the collegiate level. In 1997 and 1998, he worked with DBs at the University of Illinois and before that he built the Trinity International University football program from the ground up, starting the program in 1988 and winning 2 Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference titles before leaving in 1996.
As a player, Frazier was part of the legendary Bears defense that keyed the Super Bowl XX win over New England. He was a starter at CB on the ‘85 Super Bowl-winning club and led the team in INTs from 1983-85. His career was cut short with a severe knee injury suffered in the Super Bowl. During his career, Frazier had 20 INTs in 65 games played and returned a pair of those picks for TDs.
Frazier was born in Columbus, MS and has a degree in business administration. He was active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes throughout his playing career and currently works with All-Pro Dad, an organization that stresses the importance of fathers taking an active role in the lives of their children and putting family first.
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