Credited with keeping the team on an even keel while attention swirled around Brett Favre and the Metrodome roof collapsed the night before a scheduled game, Frazier went 3-3 as the interim, including an improbable win at playoff-bound Philadelphia after the NFL postponed that contest by two days because of a forecast snowstorm.
Frazier got the job for good in 2011, but after a lockout-shortened offseason, the Vikings went 3-13 behind an ineffective Donovan McNabb and then rookie Ponder at quarterback. In 2012, they staged a remarkable turnaround, riding Adrian Peterson to a spot in the playoffs.
Childress had his contract extended in 2009 while the Vikings were on their way to the NFC championship game, but the team came unglued the following fall. Wary of a similarly expensive over-commitment, Wilf and the front office merely picked up a fourth-year option on Frazier's deal last January, putting him in a prove-it situation for 2013.
Right away, his future here turned grim.
And as widely liked as Frazier has been throughout the organization, the ultra-competitive landscape of the NFL rarely allows coaches with two double-digit-defeat records in three years to keep their jobs.
His playing career as a cornerback for Chicago cut short by a knee injury in the Super Bowl, Frazier soon ventured into coaching, building the program at Trinity College from scratch in 1988.
Fifteen years later, he became the defensive coordinator for Cincinnati. With two years as an assistant in Indianapolis, Frazier came from the Tony Dungy mold of coaches, a soft-spoken man of deep Christian faith who has excelled at creating a culture of harmony and respect around the locker room.
After the Vikings beat Detroit on Sunday to wrap up the season, Frazier stumped to stay. He said he was proud of the job he has done here.
"I just have a lot of belief in my abilities as a coach and have a lot of belief in the guys on our team, a lot of belief in our staff, and for that reason you don't have to walk in fear," Frazier said at the Metrodome. "You just know that things are going to work out."