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Leslie Frazier, Christian Ponder unlikely to return

The end appears to be near for Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning" that the prospects of Frazier returning in 2014 are said to be "grim," according to team sources and sources familiar with ownership's thinking.

Frazier is well-liked by ownership, but that's unlikely to be enough to dissuade the 3-9-1 Vikings from going in another direction after the season. Rapoport has been told Minnesota will target a young coach -- likely a current NFL assistant -- with "star power."

That's bad news for veteran coaches looking for a big chair. Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith should get a call, according to Rapoport, but the team is less likely to target a current NFL head coach or college coach.

Rapoport reports Vikings general manager Rick Spielman will be back next season, according to sources familiar with the thinking of the team's brass.

The Vikings' quarterback situation provides further intrigue. According to Rapoport, the "current thinking" is that Matt Cassel likely will go into training camp as the presumed starter while a highly drafted rookie is groomed to take the reins.

Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman are not in the team's future plans, according to Rapoport, though a potential new coach could decide to keep Ponder. If not, the Vikings will shop the quarterback for a late-round pick in May.

We previewed every Week 15 game in the latest "Around The League Podcast."

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