Minnesota Vikings  

 

Frazier downplays chance of replacing Dungy; waits on Dolphins

  • By Associated Press
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MINNEAPOLIS -- When Leslie Frazier watched the defending Super Bowl champs lose over the weekend, it hurt a little bit.

Though Frazier is Minnesota's defensive coordinator, he is only one season removed from coaching defensive backs and serving as a special assistant to head coach Tony Dungy in Indianapolis. Frazier remains a friend of Dungy's, and they spoke on Sunday night after the Colts lost to the Chargers.

The possibility of replacing Dungy, however, did not come up in the conversation. Frazier said they talked about the emotion of the 28-24 defeat, but not about the future of his former boss. Indianapolis clearly wants Dungy back, but at age 52 he will contemplate retirement before making a decision about returning.

The 48-year-old Frazier succeeded Mike Tomlin, who left after one season in Minnesota to become Pittsburgh's head coach. Frazier has already interviewed for Miami's head coaching vacancy.

Though his tie to the Colts would seem to make Frazier a natural candidate, Indianapolis assistant head coach Jim Caldwell is seen as the most likely successor if Dungy retires. Caldwell, who interviewed to be Minnesota's head coach two years ago before Brad Childress was hired for that job, is a candidate for other openings around the league.

Frazier also said he had not received an update from the Dolphins, whose candidates include front-runner Tony Sparano, the assistant head coach at Dallas. Because the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, Sparano's availability could The content for this link cannot be found. this week.

Frazier said he was contacted by another team he declined to name about a head coach opening but an interview date has not set. Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington are the other teams with vacancies.

"I do one day want to be a head coach, but I do really enjoy what I'm doing here in Minnesota," Frazier said. "I think we're going to be a much-improved team a year from now. I'm not really anxious about it. I'm just grateful for being able to have this experience."

During the past season, the Vikings again led the NFL in rushing defense but had problems giving up long passes. They ranked last in passing defense but were 18th in net yards per passing play.

Statistically, Minnesota was better on defense in the second half of the season than the first. Starting with the win over the Chargers on Nov. 4, the Vikings put better pressure on the quarterback and continued to use turnovers to score touchdowns. They led the league with eight defensive scores.

"I think I've got my finger on what we've got to do," Frazier said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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