An ominous tweet from the Minnesota Vikings signaled the end of the Leslie Frazier era on Monday morning.
Frazier was the first coach fired on a day the NFL world refers to as "Black Monday." Washington's Mike Shanahan, Detroit's Jim Schwartz, and Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano were also let go Monday. Cleveland fired head coach Rob Chudzinski late Sunday night.
Frazier's career as Vikings head coach began in 2010 on an interim basis after Brad Childress was fired. The Vikings went 3-3 under Frazier to finish that season, and on Jan. 3, 2011 he was officially hired as the head coach.
After a 3-13 season in 2011, Frazier led the Vikings to a 10-6 record and a trip to playoffs in 2012. The postseason appearance raised expectations for this season, and the writing was on the wall for Frazier after the team took a major step back.
During his press conference following Sunday's win over the Lions, Frazier said the Vikings would have a hard time winning with any form of consistency without a legitimate starting quarterback to rely on on a weekly basis.
“I’ve done everything I can do in my tenure here as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings,” Frazier said, via FOX Sports North. “I just know, as I mentioned earlier, in our league, you need to get that quarterback position fixed.”
Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman combined for 18 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and a combined passer rating of just 76.0 this season.
Fixing the quarterback situation will be up to General Manager Rick Spielman and the next head coach, which Spielman hopes to have in place before the end of January.
During a press conference Monday afternoon, Spielman said the goal is to find a coach who can provide "consistency year in and year out" on the field. Frazier's career record of 21-32-1 was part of the reason he was relieved of his duties.
“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings,” said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf in a statement released this morning. “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. Making this change is difficult, but what we determined is best for the organization.”
In the offseason, the Vikings didn’t reward Frazier with a rich contract extension for the team’s surprising success – they instead picked up his option for the 2014-15 season, which led to instant speculation about his job security.
As Pro Football Weekly put it: “Instead of being a lame duck in 2013, he’ll be a lame duck in 2014.”