The scene from Leslie Frazier's final address, as told by his players
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - As one of his final acts at Winter Park, Leslie Frazier addressed his team Monday morning after he was fired. He talked to the collected players, who were quiet and battled to suppress emotions. At least one player shed a tear.
Frazier didn't cry but players said they could tell he was hurt.
One player described a somber mood in the room as Frazier spoke, and he walked out to a chorus of applause from Vikings players.
That moment helps illustrate how players felt about their former head coach. On his way out, he told players to call him if they ever needed anything.
As safety Jamarca Sanford put it, whatever one thinks of Frazier as a coach, he earned respect as a person.
"One player on this team can't have one bad thing to say about him as a man," Sanford said. "As a player you might not agree [with him as a coach], but at the end of the day you respect him as a man."
Here is a sampling of voices from inside the locker room Monday after Frazier was fired.
"It's hard for me as a rookie coming in and coach gets fired. Coach Frazier, man, he was a heck of a guy. I take my hat off to him. Each day, we talked, on the field, off the field. He's a great man. I wish the best for him. I wish it wouldn't have happened, but things happen sometimes."
"I wanted to see him here next year. He's a great coach on and off the field, he's a good man."
"I remember the individual meetings I had with him a lot where we were chatting and talking man to man on the field and off the field. I don't think there's a better person than coach Frazier in the NFL. ... I think that's a relationship I'll remember and have the rest of my life. And I wish him luck. He's going to be successful somewhere."
"He's a good man. He definitely helped me as far as being a calm person and channeling some of my aggression that I had when I first came in. I appreciate everything that he's done for me."
"At the end of the day, we're all people and we all have feelings. I just hate to see a good man hurt like he was hurting this morning. Coach Frazier, he's going to have a bright future because he's a good man. At the end of the day, he's a man of his word. He'll be good. That's my last worry, worrying about how Coach Frazier is going to be in life. I know he's going to be good."
"You hate to wake up the next morning and here news like that, especially about such a great guy. But I'm sure that he'll definitely find another job."
"I got his cell phone number. I'm going to call him as soon as I leave here. I'm sure he's probably got all kinds of stuff coming today, but I think it's important he knows how I really feel and how much I appreciate all he's done for me in all six years I have been here. As rocky as it may have been, I know he's always had my best interests at heart and that means a lot to me."
"It's a harsh business. As a player, we all love coach Frazier, as a coach, as a man. You can't meet a better guy. And also as a player, we didn't make enough plays on the field. So you just feel like you let him down a little bit. At the same time, it's part of the business, part of the game now."
"One thing that I really liked about how coach Frazier finished the year was just he kind of told us don't worry about him. Don't make it about 'is he going, is he staying, whatever.' Just finish strong. And that's what we did yesterday. So at least we finished that last game the way that we should."
"This isn't college. I don't think motivational speeches - you know, win one for the Gipper - is really what the NFL is about. You come to work and you work hard. We have a very close locker room. Locker rooms usually don't get divided from coaching staffs. At least I haven't seen it. You're not always going to agree with someone or always get along. There's going to be ebbs and flows. But locker rooms get divided when people start doing their own thing. That didn't happen here. From the standpoint of sticking together and seeing it through, yes, the message did get through."
"Coach Frazier addressed the team and that takes a lot of guts to address the team after something like that. I thought that was really cool."
Allen was asked if Frazier wears the 'nice guy' hat too liberally to be an NFL head coach.
"Don't mistake kindness for weakness. Coach Frazier worked our butts off. Coach Frazier wasn't always just smiles and everything like that. But he's a good human being. That's the important thing. I'll always remember what Coach Frazier did for me off the field. He helped me grow as a man and for that I'll always be thankful."