In a move that comes as no surprise, the rumors about Leslie Frazier being fired as head coach are no longer rumors:
The Vikings have announced that Leslie Frazier will not return in 2014 as Head Coach.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 30, 2013
The Frazier era ends on a sour note, as a team that many Vikings fans expected to contend for the playoffs ended a disappointing 2013 season at 5-10-1. They stumbled out of the gate at 0-3, and were never really in contention at all this season.
Frazier took over as an interim coach in the chaos that was 2010. Coming off an appearance in the NFC Championship in 2009, the Vikings were in the midst of the Brett Favre-Jenn Sterger controversy, the trade for then release of Randy Moss fiasco, the Metrodome roof collapse that resulted in a 'home' game at Detroit, and a game against the Philadelphia Eagles that had to be played on Tuesday night due to bad weather.
Although many players voiced their support of keeping Frazier, including superduperstar Adrian Peterson, in the end it wasn't enough, so now the Vikings will begin the search for their 9th coach in franchise history.
In Frazier's three plus seasons with the team, he went 21-32-1, including a 10-6 record last year with an 0-1 playoff record. But that 10-6 season was sandwiched between a 3-13 season in 2011, and this year's 5-10-1 record. Against NFC North teams, Frazier went 6-14-1, with an additional loss to Green Bay in the playoffs, and over the course of his tenure, the Vikings became known as a team that was just good enough to lose, dropping 10 games on the final drive, including five this year.
As to a replacement, it seems that one guy linked to the job earlier in the week, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, seems to be headed towards the Houston Texans, if they can get a deal done. The only other information I've seen as to who the next coach for the Vikings would be was this tweet from NFL Draft Bites:
Was told by friend in business close to Bob Lamonte & Matt Baldwin he'd be, 'Shocked' if Jay Gruden wasn't #Vikings HC next season.— NFL_DRAFT_Bites (@NFLDraftBites) December 28, 2013
So, take that information for what it's worth. Either way, with a top ten draft pick and a new coach, the Vikings off-season will be anything but boring.
EDIT: OBLIGATORY TEAM STATEMENT THAT SAYS NICE THINGS ABOUT GUY THEY JUST FIRED:
Moments ago, the Vikings released a statement regarding the firing.
First, from owner Zygi Wilf: "We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings. 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."
GM Rick Spielman: "Unfortunately, we did not achieve consistent success and did not achieve the progress we expected," We believe a coaching change is needed to help build a successful team moving forward."