Notebook: Philly connections in coaching

The Vikings have a few players that are former Eagles, but so is interim head coach Leslie Frazier. Philadelphia coach Andy Reid and Frazier talked about their familiarity and appreciation for each other. Plus, Michael Vick and Andy Reid talked about Brett Favre and Joe Webb.

Familiarity goes beyond the players when it comes to connections between the Vikings and Eagles.

No Brad Childress? No problem. The familiarity is strong under the Andy Reid coaching tree that extended beyond Childress, the former offensive coordinator of the Eagles and now-former head coach of the Vikings who was fired last month.

Childress was replaced by Frazier, who also worked under Reid in Philadelphia.

"I'm a big Leslie Frazier fan. He was a great player, but he was also a heck of a football coach at the college level, small college, where you really have to coach and you really have to work, work, work," said Reid, referring to Frazier's first post-playing days as head coach of the upstart football program at Trinity College from 1988 to '96. "When I brought him here, he had that work ethic and he wanted to be great at what he did and he studied. He didn't study only the receivers and the running backs and tight ends, he got in with our line coach and he learned protections; ‘How do you guys protect the quarterback?' So he dug in there and found ways that he could exploit offensive lines and thus make everybody around on his defense better. There's more said to that; that's not an easy thing to do. He's very good."

Frazier went from blowing out his knee in Super Bowl XX with the 1985 Chicago Bears to starting up the football program as the first head coach at Trinity College. From there, he went to the University of Illinois before joining Reid's staff in 1999, where he spent four years.

Frazier, who is trying to move from interim head coach to head coach for years to come, wanted to keep the focus of Sunday's night game on the field, not on the relationship and familiarity with Reid.

"I don't know if we'll talk during the week, but I'm sure we'll talk on game day. We have talked since I've been in this role and he's been a big help in that regard," Frazier said. "The most important thing he told me is don't change. Be who you are, among some other things. The biggest thing was be who you are. Be Leslie Frazier. Don't change."

Childress was fired as a prelude to Frazier getting his first crack at an NFL head-coaching job, and that meant one friend of Reid's was out of a job.

"I know it's part of football, but I can't tell you that I didn't feel bad about it. He's a close friend and I think he's a great football coach," Reid said of Childress.

Reid also said he would be "honored" to have Childress back on his staff next year in Philadelphia, but it remains to be seen if that actually happens.

Despite the connections, Frazier's situation has him concentrating on what happens on the field, not across the field waiting to chum it up with Reid.

"We get to go back and see some old friends, but we just need a win so bad. That's what's on my mind more than anything," Frazier said. "What can we do to get a win against a good team on the road?"

The Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs weeks ago, but Reid's team could win the NFC East Division this week with a win. Still, he believes Frazier is a very capable head coach.

"He's very, very good and I knew he would be a good head coach by the time he left here and had this whole pro game figured out. I'm going, ‘This guy's going to be a head coach some day,'" Reid said.

"… But as good of a coach as he is, he's even a better person. And I'm glad he's had this opportunity. I wish it were under different circumstances, but, listen, he's well-deserving of the opportunity to be a head football coach in the National Football League. He's busted his tail to put himself in that position and conducted himself the right way and it's great for him. So I'm very happy for him."


Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has been named NFC Offensive Player of Week for the third time in the past seven weeks, but he has an appreciation for Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who is doubtful for Sunday's game after suffering a concussion Monday night.

"First ballot Hall of Famer to sum it all up. First ballot regardless of how it all ended," Vick said of Favre. "It's about what he's been to the game, what he's done for the game, things he's been able to accomplish. He's a great man, person, personality he has. He's a dynamic football player. He's paved the way for so many others. A lot of people want to be like him. They want to emulate what he's done. It's a long way to be able to play 20 years and accomplish all the things that he's accomplished – win the Super Bowl, two-time MVP. It's awesome."

Reid said the Vikings prepared for Favre and rookie Joe Webb this week. He had some familiarity with Webb from scouting him as a draft prospect earlier this year.

"We did look at Joe, and he's a phenomenal talent. He's a good kid. He did very well. I was glad that Brad (Childress) left him at the quarterback position," Reid said. "They were contemplating moving him to wide receiver and those types of things. I think he has a lot of talent and want-to to be a good football player at this level. Like any young quarterback, they develop and it takes time, so that's what Brad did with him for this year. And now, it's paid off. He had some great drives the other night, and you saw his ability to run, do the play-pass, the naked stuff—and he's got an absolute gun of an arm."

While Reid isn't likely to face Favre, he admires his ability to battle through injuries.

"I know he's the toughest son of a gun I've ever been around. He and (former Eagles tackle) Jon Runyan, I'd put in that same category," Reid said. "Those guys are wired the same way – very tough individuals."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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