Much to the bewilderment of fans, media members and even some of his own players, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier took two timeouts when the Washington Redskins were driving down to the goal line with the clock ticking in Thusday night's 34-27 victory.
Due to injuries, the Vikings didn't suit up the allotted 46 players they're allowed. Frazier defended his decision to take the timeouts, saying he needed to give his depleted defense a chance to regroup.
"I wanted to make sure for one, our guys were getting a little fatigued," Frazier said, per The Star Tribune. "But also if they were to get a score, I wanted us to have a chance to go back and respond. I didn't want then to be able to run the clock out and us not have a chance on offense. Fortunately for us, because our guys were gassed, they got their breath and made some big stops at the end."
The odds are good that Frazier had flashbacks to an early-season collapse against the Chicago Bears during that final drive. Following that loss, Frazier lamented that he could have helped avoid a last-second defensive breakdown if he had used a timeout.
Frazier said Thursday night that he wasn't worried about his players questioning his decision to use the timeouts, even the demonstrative antics of wide receiver Greg Jennings, who was caught hopping around by NFL Network cameras, clearly perplexed.
"I've learned in my short time as head coach that you better do it the way you believe in doing it because you don't have a chance to do this for very long," Frazier said. "You don't want to have any regrets. Our players, they're thinking about what they need to think about. But I need to think about the total picture. So no big deal."
Frazier's seat has been hot much of this season. He knows that if he goes down in Minnesota, he's going down on his terms. Fortunately, this time, his terms got the win.