Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier met with reporters on Tuesday in advance of the 2011 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. CT with the 1st round and resumes on Friday evening and then again on Saturday. Frazier is a 23-year coaching veteran and has been through this part of an NFL season many times, but this is his first go-round as head coach.
And although it’s his first time going through the NFL draft process with the responsibilities of a head coach, it’s clear he’s prepared himself well for the occasion.
“It hasn’t been a whole lot different than I thought it would be,” Frazier said. “I’m very fortunate to be in a situation where I’m around some experienced guys such as (VP of Player Personnel) Rick (Spielman) and (Director of College Scouting) Scott Studwell and (Director of Pro Personnel) George Paton and others who’ve done it before and have had success in doing it.
While Frazier has handled the process with grace so far, he also acknowledged that there’s work to do as the draft quickly approaches.
“We’re not quite there yet,” Frazier explained. “We’re still going through the process and looking forward to the 28th and 29th and 30th just to see how everything comes together. But so far so good.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Frazier is handling so well the tall task of going through the NFL draft process as head coach for the first time. He was named interim head coach of the Vikings in the middle of the 2010 season, a tumultuous time for the organization as the team stumbled through a 6-10 campaign. As if a losing season wasn’t enough to deal with, then came the snowstorm that caused the Metrodome roof to collapse and subsequently forced the team to move games from Mall of America Field to both TCF Bank Stadium and then Ford Field in Detroit as well as the huge storm in Philadelphia over Christmas that forced the team and its traveling party to remain on the road for 4 days prior to playing the Eagles on a Tuesday night.
Through all of that, Frazier displayed poise and leadership. Those traits allowed him to guide the Vikings through the adversity and to where the organization sits now, preparing for the draft and the upcoming season. Even more remarkable than his ability to steer the ship through the storm, though, is the humility with which he does it, giving more credit to the support system around him than to himself.
“I’m fortunate,” Frazier said. “I’ve got some good people around me and we’ve got a great staff. I believe we’ve really assembled a terrific staff, so I have a lot of confidence in our coaches, our scouting staff that’s under Rick’s tutelage, the support I get from (Director of Public Relations) Bob Hagan and so many in our offices.
“I really don’t get intimidated by the circumstances because so much of it is out of my control. But I just know that when you’ve got good people around you, you’ve got a chance to be successful. I’m fortunate in that regard. I’m surrounded by a lot of good people.”