Spielman: “We back coach Frazier 100 percent”
“Leslie Frazier is not going anywhere… Leslie Frazier is our football coach and we are 100 percent behind Leslie and his coaching staff,” said Spielman wide-ranging 42-minute interview with reporters on Friday. “And we’re committed to our players, and everybody is working extremely hard to get this thing turned around."
After a 1-6 start, the Vikings are at the bottom of the NFC North. Their problems probably won’t just vanish into thin air with frequent breakdowns on defense as well as special teams, and the team is still struggling to figure out a long-term solution at the game’s most important position.
The Vikings have kept the door revolving at the quarterback position so far this season. In the past three weeks alone, the Vikings have started a different quarterback in each game. However, the change at quarterback did not produce the desired results as the Vikings came out of each game with increasingly lopsided losses to the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, respectively. This called into question Spielman’s ability to evaluate players, especially after Vikings spent $ 2 million on Josh Freeman in early October, but the free agent pickup might end up seeing little playing time going forward. But Spielman noted that it’s up to Frazier and his coaching staff to decide who starts at quarterback.
"I will express my opinions one way or another (to Frazier)," he said. "I will always come up with the pros and the cons on everything. When it comes to the personnel, I weigh all that and I make that decision. When it comes to who plays, Leslie weighs that decision."
Frazier expected Christian Ponder to break out in his third season, but the 12th overall pick went 0-3 to start 2013, before being benched for the next three games while veteran quarterback Matt Cassel and Freeman got chances to potentially revive the Vikings’ offense. Freeman failed miserably in his Vikings debut, completing 37 percent of his passes and looking completely unprepared to start against the New York Giants after being with the team for only two weeks and four practices.
"No one would say he went out there and played a great ballgame," Spielman said. "But you're going off, again, coaches make those determinations.”
"This was just a great chance - whether he played or not - that you would have a much better idea of what a Josh Freeman was by the end of the season, just by him being in your building and being around that player for 12 weeks,” Spielman defended his decision to sign Freeman.
Cassel completed 69.6 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and two interceptions. But for Sunday’s game at Dallas, the Vikings are turning back to Ponder – who will start his second straight game.
Despite the apparent patience the organization has kept with this coaching staff, Spielman couldn’t help but bring to focus that “wins” matter if the Vikings are looking for a successful 2013 season.
"We're not in this business not to win," Spielman said. "It's just expected. You expect to go out and win and you expect to go out and win every week and that's what this business is about, is getting wins."