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Updated: October 13th, 2013 10:45pm
Zulgad: It's fair to wonder if Leslie Frazier will survive the seasson

Zulgad: It's fair to wonder if Leslie Frazier will survive the seasson

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by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com

The Minnesota Vikings had a 3-6 record in an incredibly disappointing 2010 season when the Green Bay Packers came to the Metrodome and breezed to a 31-3 victory.

It was apparent to everyone, including ownership, during the course of that game that the Vikings had given up on the season and coach Brad Childress.

Childress was fired the following day and Leslie Frazier was introduced as the interim coach. Frazier proved to be a master at crisis management in guiding the Vikings to a 3-3 record the rest of the season. That earned him the full-time job.

Frazier went 3-13 in his first full season but the Vikings followed with a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in 2012.

Whether things were good or bad under Frazier, the one thing you rarely, if ever, saw was the complete lack of interest from players that occurred under Childress.

Those players had turned on Childress, had tired of his act and appeared determine that the best way to go about fixing the problem was to get their coach fired.

Frazier, unlike Childress, seemed to listen to his players. He valued their input and treated them like men. He didn't tolerate the distractions that Childress seemed to welcome and, as a result, his players might not have always played their best but they never seemed to lose interest in their coach's message.

At least that was true until Sunday.

The biggest thing that stood out in the Vikings' embarrassing 35-10 loss to Carolina at the Metrodome wasn't how inept the team looked in falling to 1-4. Rather, it was the complete lack of interest displayed by the Vikings.

This game was every bit as bad as the performance in November 2010 against the Packers. Actually, it was probably worse.

This wasn't the type of game that leaves you talking about whether Frazier will be around in 2014, it's the type of effort that leaves you wondering if Frazier will make it through the season.

Frazier and his coaching staff deserve blame for not having their team ready, but general manager Rick Spielman also can't be pardoned for giving Frazier a secondary that when completely healthy can't do the job.

Everyone wants to talk about the Vikings quarterback situation, but one of this team's greatest issues remains on the back end of the defense.

The biggest favor the Vikings could do themselves, and everyone else, will be to have Frazier name Josh Freeman his starting quarterback for next Monday's game against the Giants as soon as possible.

The Vikings attempted to hide the fact Matt Cassel would start against Carolina until last Friday, even though everyone knew the veteran would be the choice after he beat Pittsburgh in London.
It was the type of too-cute move that Childress would have attempted, while ignoring the fact everything else about his team was falling apart around him.

Those also were the type of moves that drove Childress' players up the wall and eventually led them to give up on their coach.

That was something some thought would never happen under Frazier. But somehow on Sunday that has happened and if Frazier can't stop it there is a chance the Vikings could be looking at a second in-season coaching change in four years.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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