Proving stretch run for Frazier

The Vikings have gone 2-0 under Leslie Frazier, but now comes the meatier part of the remaining games, a time for Frazier to prove he can coach up his team against quality opponents.

Leslie Frazier deserves a ton of credit for the job he has done since taking over as the Vikings' interim coach two weeks ago after Brad Childress was fired.

Not only did Frazier stabilize what had become a toxic situation, but the Vikings also have defeated Washington (17-13) and Buffalo (38-14) to improve to 5-7.

Now comes the tough part.

While the Redskins and Bills are a combined 7-17, the Vikings' next three opponents present a much tougher challenge. Minnesota will play host to the New York Giants (8-4) and Chicago (9-3) over the next two weeks before visiting Philadelphia (8-4) the day after Christmas.

It remains unclear whether quarterback Brett Favre will be available as he battles a sprained right shoulder that could end his starting streak at 297 consecutive regular-season games.

This stretch could go a long way toward determining if Frazier will get the interim label removed from his title.

Frazier certainly has to be considered a serious candidate given how he has handled himself and his team. If the Vikings can be competitive in this stretch, it might be enough for owner Zygi Wilf.

The Vikings' dilemma is going to be that on Jan. 3, a day after the Vikings finish the regular season at Detroit, Frazier will be a coaching free agent.

He has interviewed for seven coaching jobs in recent years and certainly could be a hot candidate again this offseason.

Frazier was a finalist for the Denver Broncos job in January 2009 but did not get the position that went to Josh McDaniels. Now with McDaniels having been fired, there is a chance the Broncos could take another run at Frazier and even target him as their choice.

Frazier has been unwilling to talk about the future, choosing instead to only focus on the next game. That has been his approach since he took over and was done in large part to keep his team focused on the task at hand.

Frazier did say last week that there have been no talks with Wilf about 2011 or beyond.

However, a victory this Sunday certainly would not hurt Frazier's cause. Wilf was a lifelong Giants fan before buying the Vikings in 2005, and beating that team always has been a highlight for him.

No matter what happens, it's likely that Wilf will hear very positive feedback about Frazier from players who had grown tired of Childress. Frazier has good people skills, and he has used those to rally the team.

It won't be surprising if that trait helps keep him in the Vikings' head coaching job past this season.

SERIES HISTORY: 22nd regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 13-8. The Vikings have won the past four meetings between the teams, including a 44-7 victory on Jan. 3 last season at the Metrodome in the regular-season finale. The Giants are 2-1 against the Vikings in the playoffs, including a 41-0 victory in the 2000 NFC Championship Game.


  • CB Chris Cook did not practice Wednesday because of continued swelling in his knees. Cook has had surgery on both knees this season to repair torn meniscus and has missed the past two games.

  • DE Ray Edwards did not practice Wednesday after missing last Sunday's game because of a sprained right ankle. Coach Leslie Frazier said there is a chance Edwards could be ready to play Sunday against the Giants.

  • QB Brett Favre did not practice Wednesday, and his availability for Sundays' game is in doubt after he suffered a sprained right shoulder against the Bills. Favre's injury is a sprained sternoclavicular joint, an injury he has never had in his 20 NFL seasons. The Vikings' hope is that Favre can do some work Thursday. He has yet to throw a ball this week.

  • WR Percy Harvin missed practice Wednesday because of continuing issues with a migraine headache that caused him to miss last Sunday's game. Coach Leslie Frazier is optimistic Harvin will be able to play this weekend.

  • S Tyrell Johnson has an knee ligament injury, and he did not practice Wednesday. He most likely won't be able to play Sunday.

  • QB Joe Webb (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday and is unlikely to be available Sunday.

  • RB Toby Gerhart (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday.

  • LG Steve Hutchinson, who missed last Sunday's game because of a broken right thumb, was able to do limited work Wednesday.

  • RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) was limited in practice Wednesday, but that is of little concern considering he rushed for three touchdowns last weekend.

  • WR Sidney Rice (hip) was limited in Wednesday's practice.

  • WR Bernard Berrian (groin) did not miss any drills Wednesday but remained on the injury report.

  • WR Greg Lewis missed last Sunday's game because of a concussion but was not limited in practice Wednesday.

  • S Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) was able to take part in all drills Wednesday after sitting out the past two games.

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