Brett Favre said Leslie Frazier’s National Football League playing experience will help him as the new coach of the Minnesota Vikings, who yesterday fired Brad Childress after a 3-7 start.
Frazier, 51, was promoted from defensive coordinator to replace Childress, whose fifth season in Minneapolis was marked by clashes with Favre and wide receiver Randy Moss.
Frazier, who said yesterday that Favre would remain the Vikings’ starting quarterback, played in the NFL for five years and was a starting cornerback for the 1985 Chicago Bears team that won the Super Bowl. This is Frazier’s first NFL head coaching position. He will replace Childress for the remainder of this season.
“He’s going to take this opportunity and make the most of it,” said Favre, a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player. “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.”
Frazier, who led the 1985 Bears with six interceptions, said he has “no hesitation” in sticking with the 41-year-old Favre, who’s started an NFL-record 296 straight games. Favre leads the NFL with 17 interceptions this season, a year after leading the Vikings within one game of the Super Bowl.
“He’s a tremendous quarterback and he’s been a leader of our team in the last year and a half,” Frazier said during a news conference. Frazier joined the Vikings in 2007 after winning a Super Bowl on the Indianapolis Colts’ coaching staff.
Childress, who didn’t play in the NFL, was 40-37 in 4 1/2 years with the Vikings, including 1-2 in the playoffs.
Minnesota went 12-4 last season and advanced to the National Football Conference championship game before losing to the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in overtime. The Vikings matched last season’s loss total by Week 8 this year and have lost four of their past five games, including a 31-3 defeat against the Green Bay Packers two days ago.
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was upset by Childress’s handling of Moss and considered replacing the coach before the Vikings’ 27-24 overtime win against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 7, ESPN reported without saying where it got its information.
Childress, 54, cut Moss, a seven-time Pro Bowl receiver, four games after acquiring him from New England for a third-round draft pick. Wilf also expressed displeasure with how Childress handled Favre’s ankle injury and the coach’s play-calling in a 28-18 loss to New England on Oct. 31.
Favre and Childress traded verbal barbs at news conferences during the last two weeks, similar to exchanges at the end of last season.
Childress was involved in verbal altercations with other players, including wide receiver Percy Harvin, the NFL’s 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year. The two were separated by teammates and coaches on Nov. 5 after Childress questioned the receiver’s work ethic during practice, ESPN said.
“Brad Childress is a good guy, a man with strong faith and a good family,” Favre, who’s in his 20th NFL season, said in comments distributed by the Vikings. “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.”
The Vikings are 0-5 on the road and have scored 172 points, 99 fewer than through the first 10 games in 2009. The Vikings began this season with 11-1 odds to win their first Super Bowl title and are now listed at 125-1, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which helps Nevada sports books set gambling lines.
“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,” Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson said. “I know Leslie will be a positive presence for the guys on the team and we’re going to be behind him.”