Leslie Frazier biting tongue on Vikings' decision: 'I moved past it'
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Leslie Frazier chose his words carefully on Friday at the NFL scouting combine when asked about the Minnesota Vikings' decision to pick up an option for 2014 on his contract, rather than negotiating a multi-year extension after a playoff season.
But Frazier clearly was surprised by the decision and didn't dismiss the notion what appears to be a tepid show of support from the organization created a somewhat awkward situation.
"I moved past it," Frazier said. "It is what it is, and I've got to concentrate on getting our team ready for this season, and that's what's important."
It wasn't known Frazier had an option on the three-year contract he signed in January 2011 before the Vikings announced they had exercised it on Feb. 13. The announcement came hours after an Associated Press report said the Vikings and Frazier had agreed on a multi-year extension.
Frazier's agent, Bob Lamonte, subsequently told reporters there were no negotiations at all.
"I think the most important thing for me and the best thing I can do for our team is to really focus on getting our guys ready to have a great season," Frazier said.
"That's really the only thing that's important. I think our players, our coaches from a leadership standpoint, I can't ever forget that. They derive a lot of their energy from me. So, I've got to make sure that I'm focused on what we've got to get done so we can have a great year.
But he believed there would be extension talks?
"Well, what I believe and what actually is is what you have to deal with -- as you guys know, the reality," Frazier said. "And that's what I want to deal with, the reality of the situation.
"You guys are well aware of what my situation is. There was an announcement made, and that's where things are. I'm excited to be the head coach of the Vikings. I like the job that I have, and I like the team that we have."
Frazier said his "focus shifted" as soon as general manager Rick Spielman and Vikings management informed him of the decision.
"Just got to let my agent handle what needs to be handled," Frazier said, "and I've got to remove myself from that and just concentrate on what I need to do and what I need to get done."
Asked if that meeting occurred the same week the announcement was made, Frazier sighed and said, "Oh, no. I knew for -- yeah, but that's something, you have to talk to my agent about it. But my agent, he can talk more about that. I need to concentrate on the football aspects of it."
Frazier took over on an interim basis after Brad Childress' firing in November 2010 and signed the three-year contract with the option after leading the Vikings to a 3-3 record. They finished 3-13 in 2011, then bounced back to go 10-6 a earn an NFC wild-card playoff berth in 2012.
Will Frazier approach this with a chip on his shoulder as a player might entering a contract season?
"I don't think for me it's ever changed," Frazier said. "My desire to win a championship overrides anything else. I'm not doing what I do for a contract. I'm not doing what I do for money. I want to be bring a championship to Minnesota, period. So, every decision I make, that's what it's based on.
"That's what I've tried to get across to our players every week, every training camp, every day. I talk to them about the now. I've said that to our management. Every decision we make is based on bringing a championship to Minnesota, and if it's for any other reason, we're doing a disservice to our fans, disservice to our players. So, it's got to be about what will help bring a championship to Minnesota."