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Playing Josh Freeman left Viking players wondering what Frazier was doing

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One of the strangest parts of Leslie Frazier’s final season as the Vikings’ head coach was the way he handled quarterback Josh Freeman.

Freeman started against the Giants two weeks after joining the Vikings and played like a player who had no grasp of the offensive system that he was asked to run. Freeman would never play again all season even as Frazier jumped between Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel on the way to a 5-10-1 season that left Frazier unemployed.

When Frazier was fired, Vikings players lamented his loss but Frazier’s handling of that situation didn’t seem to win him many points with the team. Tom Pelissero of USA Today spoke to a couple of players, who spoke anonymously, who were left “confused” by the choice that Frazier made to start Freeman so quickly after he joined the team. One player called it a “debacle” and the other said Frazier lost credibility while trying to sell the team on his choice.

“You could tell Josh did not know the offense. Practices did not really go that well that week,” one player said. “But Coach Frazier was in the team meetings like, ‘Oh, I think this is the best week of practice we’ve had all year.’ And everyone’s like, what? What are you talking about?”

We’ll never know if handling things differently would have worked out better for Frazier, but his handling of Freeman was a reminder of how desperate teams are to find the right answer at quarterback. And Frazier’s firing is one of many reminders this year that coaches don’t last long when the answer is incorrect.

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31 Responses to “Playing Josh Freeman left Viking players wondering what Frazier was doing”
  1. shawon0meter says: Jan 1, 2014 8:10 AM

    It’s simple actually. The team was 1-4 at the time. He had to take a desperate risk to see if Freeman was good enough to magically step in and turn the season around.

  2. keetoosya says: Jan 1, 2014 8:13 AM

    Freeman was cut by Tampa for a reason. He is just NOT an NFL QB and the Vikings took on another headache with Freeman. I don’t care what he did in the past it’s what has he done lately that counts.
    Good luck up there, you’ll need it.

  3. whatjusthapped says: Jan 1, 2014 8:24 AM

    Its simple, Frazier was hoping against hope that Freeman would turn out to the right choice. The fact that its delusional thinking only makes it more in common with the Viking fans overall.

    It was a wasted $3 million in salary but compared to the $15 million paid to Allen or the $12 million paid to Jennings, its hardly the worst investment on the roster.

    And to think Spielman survived the debacle.

  4. f1restarter says: Jan 1, 2014 8:25 AM

    The Vikings are comical.

  5. favresthumbdrive says: Jan 1, 2014 8:58 AM

    Frazier was a nice guy, well liked. However he had no in-game adjustment skills, management skills and it’s plainly obvious that he did not put the right people on the field. You’ve got to know which players give you the best chance to win. Cutting Audie Cole, then bringing him back and he leads you r team in tackles that week? Sitting Patterson for most of the year? Continually throwing clueless Ponder out there? Poor talent evaluation.

  6. jerrykill4pres says: Jan 1, 2014 9:07 AM

    I think he left more than players wondering what he was doing!

  7. 92nick182govikings says: Jan 1, 2014 9:11 AM

    I dont understand why we didnt play him more. And I dont understand why everyone thinks hes so terrible. This is pro football and it would be very difficult for any qb to step rite in and play good rite away. Hes got a cannon for an arm steps up in the pocket well. His pocket presence is pretty good hes got great size and decent speed hes an alright qb if u ask me. He could have been our guy until we draft jameis Winston! Now we are gonna draft another ponder like qb and stick with that guy for 2 to 3 years and not get our guy Winston!

  8. packerbackernj says: Jan 1, 2014 9:22 AM

    Clueless organization from the top down. It takes one of the greatest seasons of all time by a running back for them to even sneak into the playoffs. Complete talent hole.

  9. rainsarge says: Jan 1, 2014 9:25 AM

    I wonder what Frazier was thinking with starting freeman with a wk of practice and on top of that not just pounding the ball with peterson but throwing 50 times.

  10. thetruthaccordingtoval says: Jan 1, 2014 9:32 AM

    Nice coach does not mean smart coach

  11. daknight93 says: Jan 1, 2014 9:35 AM

    Frazier maybe a really nice guy, but he was a clueless and lost coach on the sidelines and he was hoping Freeman would be a miracle quarterback to save his job…bottom line in this league is all about “Winning” and Frazier deserved to be Fired! you are what your record say you are 5-10-1 Signed Bill Parcells

  12. elliottcovert says: Jan 1, 2014 9:44 AM

    Frazier is a good defensive mind, but the quarterback situation really ate up all of his attention.

    He might be a good fit as Defensive Coordinator for Dallas.

  13. steelerdeathstar says: Jan 1, 2014 9:50 AM

    Maybe if more franchises exercised a little more patience with both their HC’s and QB’s, they’d get better long-term results? See Steelers, Patriots, Packers, etc.
    The ‘must win now’! mania that many franchises subscribe to is generally counter-productive to their long-term success…

  14. mackie66 says: Jan 1, 2014 10:13 AM

    If Frazier has been fired from the Vikings then why oh why don’t these unnamed players come forward? Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see,,,,,,

  15. kabasaman says: Jan 1, 2014 10:20 AM

    Frazier will land on his feet. He is a good coach. I have to believe he was pressured into playing Freeman. I think after paying a bunch of cash for the guy I think Spielman and the Ziggster made that decision.

  16. aaronfraudgers says: Jan 1, 2014 10:24 AM

    Freeman played 12 days after being signed. Players said that they could tell he didn’t know the playbook yet in that short time span (which is expected).

    I’m not saying Freeman would have turned out to be the answer if given proper time, but judging him based on the game against the Giants is stupid.

  17. garyhd01 says: Jan 1, 2014 10:55 AM

    another minority coach loses his job i am rooting for lovie to get the job in tampa i for the life of me cant figure out why more arent head coaches will admit i was surprised when lovie lost his job i was not however surprised when frazier lost his. had he waited 2 more weeks to try freeman the upside of trying out a qb on a 1-6 team would have been higher and the down side lower not to mention the chances of freeman understanding the playbook goes up after 3 weeks instead of 1.

  18. meatcarroll says: Jan 1, 2014 11:04 AM

    Percy Harvin was right to escape this dumpster fire.

  19. jonsilver1947 says: Jan 1, 2014 11:12 AM

    Frazier was quoted a day or two ago saying he did not make the decisions on who played qb this year.

  20. dragonfly99 says: Jan 1, 2014 11:17 AM

    The big question is was it Frazier’s decision to play Freeman or someone else higher up in the organization?

  21. weareluckytohavemikeflorio says: Jan 1, 2014 12:32 PM

    was reported on Sirius XM this am that Freeman was the ‘last guy in’
    ‘first guy to leave”, lacked work ethic and his attitude wasnt all that great either.
    THATS why he didnt play, that and the fact that he couldnt get the plays out in the huddle and had no idea what he was calling when he did.
    looking at this guys career is like looking at the definition of the word
    regression

  22. johnnytarr says: Jan 1, 2014 1:43 PM

    His contract wasn’t guaranteed, he did not start the year with the team. Why wasn’t he cut if he wasn’t going to play ?

  23. tokyosandblaster says: Jan 1, 2014 1:58 PM

    Playing any of the Vikings left America wondering what Frazier was thinking. Even their supposed top tier running back was the worst in the division.

    >

  24. favresthumbdrive says: Jan 1, 2014 2:10 PM

    “Maybe if more franchises exercised a little more patience with both their HC’s and QB’s, they’d get better long-term results? See Steelers, Patriots, Packers, etc.
    The ‘must win now’! mania that many franchises subscribe to is generally counter-productive to their long-term success…”

    Doesn’t take Einstein on that one. Steelers, Roethlisberger…Patriots, Tom Brady…Packers, Aaron Rodgers. 2 of those coaches came AFTER those QBs were there. Take Aaron Rodgers out, McCarthy just another guy.

  25. mediasloppy says: Jan 1, 2014 2:46 PM

    Here’s a coach with a horrible QB named Ponder losing game after game for weeks. The people a pay grade over his head decided to bring in a new QB for $2,000,000. I’d say the message was clear that Freeman was the guy. And before Vikings fans get all cranked up looking at this with 20/20 hindsight, the vast majority wanted to see him play.

  26. arnoldziffel says: Jan 1, 2014 3:39 PM

    This is just an example of the desperation organizations who do not have a first-line quarterback will exhibit while trying to find one.

    It’s similar to a guy making a play for a great looking woman that’s clearly out of his league. Foolish things are gonna happen that people are going to chuckle over.

    Makes me appreciate Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers even more – us Packer fans have really been fortunate.

  27. qckappa says: Jan 1, 2014 3:44 PM

    At least most of the Viking fans so far here haven’t blamed Spielman for Frazier’s non sense.
    Anyone could see Freeman wasn’t ready. So, the players are finally admitting that Frazier was full of it. He played the wrong players and made bad decisions. BTW, don’t you Packer fans have enough articles to talk about. You are a little annoying, like a child begging for attention, you have nothing intelligent or worthwhile to add, you need a life, go away, maybe you’re more like a gnat or fly, if you were really winners you might have some class. Back on point, Cassel should have started the last 14 games and anyone could see that with enough time, he was a much better passer, especially downfield. Ponder, Cook, Henderson at MLB among others should not have been playing. The defense was too passive and soft and had nothing to lose by being more aggressive yet he didn’t change anything. Obviously, Patterson and even Webb should have been on the field much more but not to this conservative minded coach. I for one am so relieved that he has been fired. BTW, I am an African American male and he had a chance so there are no excuses coming from me, glad to see him move on. I knew Lovie would get fired too, he didn’t go to the postseason and he wasn’t beating the Packers, recipe to lose your job in Chicago. Plus, as a minority man, you already know you’re not going to get anything extra in the way of favor. Go Vikings!

  28. purpleforroyaltygreenandgoldforbugars says: Jan 1, 2014 4:34 PM

    If it’s being insinuated that playing Freeman was fraziers choice than that is naive. Fraizer did want Freeman just like he didn’t want mcnabb. Spielman obviously made those calls and forced him to play ponder. It was time for a coaching change but spielman should be our the door with him.

  29. bryco9 says: Jan 1, 2014 4:52 PM

    Starting Freeman after 10 days was simply a way of sticking it to Spielman. Freeman was Spielman’s get, Frazier wanted nothing to do with and putting him out there on a Monday night game with not even 2 full weeks of practice was proof of that.
    It was choices like that and the playing of Joe Webb in the playoffs with zero playing time during the season that were the down fall of Frazier. Nice guys don’t make great coaches.

    I wish Frazier all the luck in his next job and sincerely hope he is given a second chance at being a head coach, assuming he learns from his mistakes this time around.

  30. vavikingfan says: Jan 1, 2014 8:38 PM

    Leslie made lots of mistakes on hs own but Spielman called the shots on QB.

  31. peoriaviking says: Jan 2, 2014 3:24 PM

    Had they started Cassel or Ponder against the Giants, they would have won the game easily. Everyone forgets just how awful the Giants played in that game. Freeman lost that game all by himself. At 2-4 they may have gone on a mini winning steak and had a much different outcome to there otherwise waste of a season.

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