Frazier: Focus is on Vikings, putting interviews in 'rearview mirror'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- There will come a time when Leslie Frazier talks about his head-coaching interviews with the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks.

But with the Minnesota Vikings just three days away from an NFC divisional playoff showdown with the Dallas Cowboys, Frazier said that time isn't now.

"What happened a week ago is really in my rearview mirror, and my focus is really on trying to get our guys ready to play on Sunday," Frazier said Thursday in his first public comments since the interviews. "There will be a time to talk about what happened a week ago, but I don't necessarily know that this is maybe the most appropriate time. But there will be a time."

The Vikings (12-4) were on a bye last week. That meant teams with job openings were free to contact and interview Frazier, who is one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the NFL and widely viewed as a future head coach.

Frazier met with the Bills last Thursday and the Seahawks on Saturday. The Seahawks have since hired former USC coach Pete Carroll, but the Bills job remains open.

Seahawks chief executive Tod Leiweke was criticized after hiring Carroll. The NFL's Rooney Rule requires interviews with minority candidates before the hiring of head coaches and senior football executives, and there were questions about whether or not the Seahawks already had picked Carroll before they talked to Frazier.

"I went to see Leslie and I saw him in good faith," Leiweke said Tuesday. "When I went to Minnesota, I was not sure we would get it done with Pete. There were significant issues."

At times, Frazier said, it can be difficult to decipher if he has a true shot at getting a job. Frazier didn't speak specifically about the Seahawks. However, he has in previous seasons interviewed with the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons for head-coaching jobs.

"You just hope when you go in for an interview it's legit, and you try to decipher ahead of time if it is," Frazier said. "You shouldn't have to do that. It should be on merit.

"And when they invite you in, you'd like to believe it's for real, and that's the way I've approached it. They've got enough people in the league trying to make sure that they are for real and it's not someone pulling the wool over your eyes. So you either do it or you don't."

Vikings coach Brad Childress said he has tried to help put his top assistant in position to land his dream job.

"It gets faxed in and then I get made aware of it," Childress said of a team's request to interview Frazier. "I have the wheels turning in my brain with how I think it's going down, and then I share that with Leslie. In the long run, it's up to Leslie to determine whether he does or he doesn't talk."

Frazier certainly has the resume to be a serious head-coaching candidate. He has won Super Bowls both as a player with the 1985 Chicago Bears and an assistant coach with the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. In three seasons with the Vikings, Frazier has helped mold a veteran defense into one of the best in the league and continued their recent history as one of the stingiest against the run.

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"Hopefully he lands one, but I'm not worried about it right now," All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "He's our defensive coordinator now, and we're going to hog him right now while he can. Hopefully he gets that job he's looking for, as soon as we win the Super Bowl."

While he clearly dreams of running his own team one day, Frazier said it was no trouble at all to focus on the task at hand.

"I'd like to get a third ring," Frazier said. "These opportunities are just so rare in the National Football League for players and coaches. For me, just to be in this situation again and know that we're just a couple games from reaching our goal as a team, it's not hard at all."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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