Wilfs: No changes to Vikings' power structure following Frazier hire
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The ouster of the most powerful football person in the Minnesota Vikings organization yielded a million questions about how the chain of command might change with the hiring of Brad Childress' replacement.
In the end, the answer was simple: nothing will change at all.
Owner Zygi Wilf and his brother, team president Mark Wilf, made that clear during a session with a small group of reporters late Monday afternoon, shortly after interim coach Leslie Frazier signed a three-year contract to take over the permanent job.
Instead, Frazier is expected to work collaboratively with vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman on personnel decisions, while vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski continues to preside over contracts and the salary cap.
"We believe (that) what we have right now as an organization has worked," Zygi Wilf said.
The thinking appears to be that Frazier will be a better communicator than Childress -- fired amid mounting losses and locker-room criticism on Nov. 22 -- and thus avoid some of the inevitable pitfalls in not having a traditional general manager.
It became apparent the Vikings wouldn't be adding anyone in such a role once they settled on hiring Frazier over the weekend. After all, a GM no doubt would want a say in any coaching search, rather than inheriting someone who'd just signed a multiyear deal.
"One of the things we talked about (Monday) and even (Sunday) night," Frazier said during his introductory media conference, "was just making sure that we always communicate as a group regarding our 53-man roster and just trusting that between myself and Rick that we'll be able to settle on the right 53 for our football team.
"I have complete confidence that we can get that done. And my confidence is bolstered by the relationship over the last six weeks."
Asked who would break a tie on a personnel decision, Mark Wilf said only that the Vikings are "confident we're going to be able to communicate and collaborate and come to the right decisions," with Frazier and Spielman sharing power.
"I don't feel," Zygi Wilf added, "that when they discuss things out and communicate and talk it out that they'll ever be a situation where we would have to be the ones to be calling for a tiebreaker."
So, there will be no title changes, and the logical trump card appears to remain where it always did -- Spielman on the draft, the coach on the 53-man roster.
Zygi Wilf indicated he doesn't "look at this as a rebuilding situation" with the roster, despite having no franchise quarterback, 18 potential unrestricted free agents and 20 players who will be 30 or older by the time next begins.
In fact, he raised the team's recent success prior to this season on several occasions to illustrate that "we have a very good football club with very good players."
"We've won the division two years in a row (in 2008 and '09), and that's the first time that's happened in 30-some years," Zygi Wilf said. "Our goal is always to become a class organization that's always competitive. We felt that's what we have, we feel we're going to be better next year. I think having Coach Frazier as head coach will make us a better team."
Frazier said he expects to spend the next two days meeting with the team's scouts and coaches to changes that need to be made.
Had the Vikings not shown urgency over the weekend to get a deal done, Frazier could have spent Monday beginning the interview process for other head-coaching jobs around the league instead.
"We were primarily focused on getting the right man for the right job, and timing is not as critical as the fact that Leslie is the right man for the right job," Mark Wilf said. "It worked out that we finalized things today, but that's the main point, is to make sure that this is hopefully a long-term head coach and one who will bring us Lombardi Trophies."