The Minnesota Vikings announced their decision to release head coach Leslie Frazier Monday, a man who has deeply impacted many players with his godly character.
Former Chicago Bears National Football League player Leslie Frazier was hired as Minnesota's defensive coordinator in 2007. He went on to spend four years as head coach of the Vikings in 2010. Minnesota's record under Frazier was 5-10-1 this season; although they had fared better in 2012, Frazier was faulted with inconsistent wins and poor offensive decision making. Despite strong play from running back Adrian Peterson who racked up 3,363 rushing yards in the past two seasons, the Vikings struggled offensively and many were disappointed with Frazier's decision to keep Christian Ponder at quarterback.
CBS Minnesota reports that Frazier was "a soft-spoken man of deep Christian faith who has excelled at creating a culture of harmony and respect around the locker room." During Frazier's farewell speech on Monday, ESPN reports that Frazier invited his players to "call him if they ever needed anything" and that he was applauded as he left the room. Frazier is known for his servant-leadership and for the way that he treated his players, acting as a mentor to them and giving good counsel. Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford says of Frazier, "When you talk to him, you respect him as a man and you respect what he believes in ... He's a godly man."
"We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings," says the team's owner, Zygi Wilf - "He stepped in and established a strong positive culture here and he has been the consummate professional as our head coach and in this community."
While Frazier might not be remembered for his win-loss record, his legacy will be the impact that he had on his players' lives. "Coach Frazier is one of those guys that God put in my life at a certain time to help me develop as a man," Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen attests, as have many others who have grown under his leadership.