The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 27, 2012

Vikings say Frazier's calm demeanor the right style

EDEN PRAIRIE — The Vikings trudged out of Lambeau Field, their season slipping away after a nasty skid of four losses in five weeks dropped Minnesota to 6-6 and essentially turned every game from there on into a must win.

Fans were clamoring for Christian Ponder’s benching. The coaching staff was catching heat for a perceived inability to make in-game adjustments. There was growing concern that Adrian Peterson’s brilliant comeback season was being wasted by a team heading nowhere.

Through it all, Leslie Frazier never wavered.

For a coach who inherited a team in turmoil in 2010, presided over the end of Brett Favre’s celebrated consecutive games streak, and had to navigate the collapse of the Metrodome’s roof and the lockout in his first six months on the job, a little losing skid seemed trivial in comparison. He never bowed to public pressure to make a quarterback switch and never changed his message to his team.

Now Frazier’s Vikings are riding a three-game winning streak into the regular season finale — and a victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday puts them into the playoffs.

“Just his voice and what he has brought to this team and the locker room, it’s been huge,” Peterson said. “Guys really connect with him on that level. Just feeling his presence through his words and the confidence he has in us. Everything he speaks out there, we embrace and trust in his word.”

In the middle of one of the most chaotic seasons in franchise history in 2010, Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were searching for a calming presence and a steady hand to quiet things down. A team that started the season with Super Bowl aspirations saw Favre’s skills diminish greatly amid a tabloid scandal surrounding his time with the New York Jets, Randy Moss come and go in the span of just a few weeks and Brad Childress get fired less than a year after signing a contract extension.

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