Vikings exercise option on coach Leslie Frazier's contract for 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS -- After leading the Vikings to a surprising playoff berth last season, Leslie Frazier has reached an agreement that will keep him in Minnesota at least through 2014.
The two sides agreed to the deal this week, two people with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The team confirmed the decision in a media release late Wednesday afternoon.
"Coach Frazier has done a remarkable job in building a strong foundation for the Minnesota Vikings and creating a very positive future," Vikings owner/president Mark Wilf said a statement. "We value his leadership and look forward to working with him for many years to come."
Frazier was entering the final year of his deal, and talks of an extension started to become an issue publicly as the Vikings mounted a stunning December run to the playoffs. Stuck at 6-6 and without injured receiver Percy Harvin, the Vikings rode Adrian Peterson to four straight victories, including a thriller over Green Bay in the regular-season finale to thrust them into the postseason. They lost to the Packers the next week in the wild card round.
The agreement, which picked up an option the team had on his original deal, assures Frazier that he will not be a lame-duck coach next season.
Owner/president Mark Wilf told 1500ESPN.com on Jan. 8 the team intended was "pleased with the job Leslie has done" and intended to address the contract soon, although discussions had not begun.
Frazier took over for the fired Brad Childress with six games to go in the 2010 season. He is 16-22 in the regular season since then.
He inherited a team in turmoil that was falling apart fast after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Brett Favre wasn't playing nearly as well in his second season with the Vikings, a trade for Randy Moss turned into a disaster and the Metrodome roof collapsed shortly after he took over for Childress.
Last season, Frazier never wavered even when quarterback Christian Ponder was struggling, Harvin was hurt and the defense was having difficulty putting pressure on the quarterback.
"Just his voice and what he has brought to this team and the locker room, it's been huge," Peterson said in December. "Guys really connect with him on that level. Just feeling his presence through his words and the confidence he has in us. Everything he speaks out there, we embrace and trust in his word."
The approach worked like a charm.
Ponder started to play better in December, Peterson topped 2,000 yards to run away with the MVP award and the Vikings surprised everyone by squeaking in as the sixth seed in the NFC. It was an emphatic rebound for Frazier, who went 3-13 in his first full season and drew criticism from fans for a perceived inability to make in-game adjustments.
Now with Frazier and GM Rick Spielman in place at the top of the organization's pecking order, the Vikings appear primed to return to relevance for the long haul sooner than many had thought. Peterson will have a full healthy summer to work out after being limited last year while recovering from ACL surgery, Ponder will have another year of development under his belt and the Vikings will look to continue to the productive drafting that has aided the quick turnaround.© The Associated Press