On Monday, the Vikings fired coach Brad Childress. The team then handed the reins to defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.
The team has now circulated quotes from nine players, including quarterback Brett Favre. And it’s hard not to read the glowing words about Frazier as reflecting roundabout criticism of Childress.
For the full set of quotes, read on.“Leslie is a respected, knowledgeable coach and a quality person,” Favre said. “I’ve enjoyed being around him the past couple years and I know he’s going to take this opportunity and make the most of it. What you see is what you get with Leslie. He has a background of winning Super Bowls as a player and coach and he knows what it takes to win in the NFL. He can relate to players having been in their shoes himself and will prepare the team well. Brad Childress is a good guy, a man with strong faith and a great family; I wish him the best in the future. I think we all, starting with me, could have done more to make this a successful season.”
Defensive end Jared Allen was ambivalent about the move. “Today is really a mix of emotions,” Allen said. “I’m going to miss Coach Childress. Brad brought me here back in 2008, and I’m thankful for that. I wish him nothing but the best. At the same time, Leslie is a stand-up guy who has our respect. He helped turn this defense into a top ten unit year in and year out. Now this will be a chance for him to lead the organization. Leslie’s great at managing players and coaches, and I know the guys will play hard over the next six weeks.”
“Leslie is a good man and will do a great job as the interim coach,” said running back Adrian Peterson. “He’s got great football smarts and players can relate to him and vice versa. He has a certain vibe and energy that everyone can feel when they’re around him. When he speaks, guys perk up and tune in. I feel for Coach Childress today. I’ve got the utmost respect for him and I will always owe him. One of my goals when I was drafted here was to win a championship with Coach Childress. He took a chance on me and I’ve always wanted to accomplish our ultimate goals together; I’m sad it didn’t work out that way.”
Said guard Steve Hutchinson, “It’s a tough day because I respect the work that Brad Childress put into this team. Nobody in this locker room would have thought we would be in this position at the start of the season but we have to try to make the most of it now. Brad wanted to win more than anybody, and for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened. I have confidence that Leslie will do a great job moving forward. He’s a standup guy and has a great demeanor. I know Leslie will be a positive presence for the guys on the team and we’re going to be behind him.”
Kevin Williams kept it simple. “We’re excited to go into the rest of the season with Leslie,” Williams said. “We’re ready to roll from here and get back on the field. I wish Brad the best in the future. He and his family were always great to me and my family. As players, we’ve got to move forward from here with a new focus.”
Linebacker Chad Greenway said that the blame should have fallen on the players, not the coach. “I’m saddened and humbled by the firing of Coach Childress,” Greenway said. “He gave me the opportunity to play for this organization and was responsible for bringing me into the NFL. He shouldn’t have to take the fall for our performance on the field, but now we have to move on. I have a lot respect for Coach Frazier. Leslie is a guy we’re very comfortable with. He’s never too up and down, and he does a good job with game-planning and preparing for opponents. He deserves the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL.”
“I’m excited for Coach Frazier to have an opportunity to be a head coach,” kicker Ryan Longwell said. “At the same time, it’s disheartening to see Coach Childress go. Ultimately this game comes down to players playing, and we weren’t getting the job done.”
“I’m sad to see Coach Childress leave,” defensive tackle Pat Williams said. “I respect him as a coach and a person, but we have to keep fighting as a team for the remainder of the season. Leslie has my full support. He’s a good person and a good coach. He deserves to be a head coach in this league. Whether it’s here or somewhere else after this season, he deserves the opportunity.”
“Coach Frazier is very capable of stepping into this role,” linebacker Heath Farwell said. “He’s an even-keel type of guy who has the respect of the locker room. This is a great opportunity for him to showcase his skills as a head coach, and I support him 100%. I feel bad for Coach Childress. Unfortunately he’s the guy that took the fall for us as players who haven’t been playing as well as we should. I have a lot of support for Brad and I wish him and his family the best moving forward.”
Moving forward, Childress will receive a multi-million-dollar buyout. Unless, of course, the Vikings decided to take a page from the Raiders playbook, firing Childress for cause.