Leslie Frazier inspired by troops in Afghanistan


On this Independence Day, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier won't have to look far for inspiration or national pride. He's part of the third annual NFL-USO Coaches Tour, visiting troops in the Persian Gulf with Bill Cowher and Eric Mangini.

Frazier is sacrificing his only true "vacation" time of the year to let the troops know how much he appreciates their sacrifices.

"I was expecting this to be an opportunity to boost their morale. But it's actually been the other way," Frazier told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from Afghanistan. "They've been invigorating me. Just seeing their dedication, their focus, their sacrifice, it's truly amazing how much of themselves they're willing to give."

The most surprising thing to Frazier about his trip so far has been the conditions under which the troops work.

"I kind of wish some of our players in the league could come over here and just see what our troops are going through and what they're dealing with. If they did, I don't think they'd complain about practices in training camp when it gets hot. Because this here is a tough challenge. And yet the approach and the attitude that our men and women that are serving our country take, it inspires you in so many ways," Frazier said.

Frazier has run into plenty of Vikings fans, who ask the same question that Vikings fans, fantasy owners and members of the media ask at home: "Is Adrian Peterson ready to go?" (Frazier is very positive on this matter.)

Listening to Frazier's interview, the overriding emotion seemed to be gratitude. It's an appropriate note to hit on this day.

"It's amazing the number of times they tell us how much they appreciate us being here," Frazier said.

We appreciate Frazier being there, too, as a representative for the rest of us, saying thanks in person.