He waited 34 years of coaching to get his big chance – he was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator when Frazier vacated the position to become head coach after Brad Childress was fired Nov. 22. Pagac had perhaps the finest hour of his coaching career when he dialed up a ton of blitzes on the Eagles, playing the Jim Johnson card against the Eagles and exposing the flaws in the Michael Vick-led offense that was mimicked by Dallas and Green Bay to eliminate the Eagles in three losses to end their season.
Pagac wasn't shy about his intentions with the defensive scheme going forward, but he said much of what the Vikings do will depend on who is still on the roster and who isn't.
"As far as calling blitzes, I like to be aggressive," Pagac said. "But everything is dependent upon your personnel and what they can do – putting guys in position to make play. Whether you're a Cover-2 team, a three-deep team, a man-blitz team, a zone-blitz team, that all depends on the people you end up having."
Pagac said he was hopeful that Frazier would get the head coaching position because of the mutual respect they have for one another. At the same time, he got a taste of being a defensive coordinator … and he liked it.
"Once you've done it, you enjoy doing that," Pagac said. "After 34 years of coaching, that's something that's enjoyable to me."
Pagac said he welcomes the addition of Mike Singletary, who is taking over Pagac's linebacker-coaching duties.
"Most certainly," Pagac said when asked if he was looking forward to working with Singletary. "I don't know Mike very well. I've met him a couple times. But, obviously, we're excited about him joining the staff and bringing his expertise with us and I'm looking forward to getting to know him and work with him."
Frazier said that he and Pagac are on the same page in terms of defensive philosophy and doesn't think that there will be any significant change in the basic mindset of the Vikings defense with Pagac at the helm.
"I don't think there will be anything dramatic – not at all," Frazier said. "There are going to be some things that schematically we'll take a look at, but it's going to be important that we improve in certain areas. Without question. (But) there won't be a dramatic overhaul by any means."
While there are plenty of questions on the defensive side, especially at linebacker – where Chad Greenway and Ben Leber are both scheduled to become free agents – Pagac is confident the Vikings have the framework for the next generation of their defense.
"I think we have a great nucleus defensively in all areas," Pagac said. "Linebacker-wise, we have some good, young ' backers. (In the) secondary, you've got Chris Cook coming back from his injury at the end of the year. Asher Allen is coming back as a young corner. (On the) defensive line, you've got guys like Everson Griffen and Brian Robison as young players that are a coming through. There's a good nucleus to work with now."
One point both Pagac and Frazier made was that, as it currently stands, they don't know who the personnel will be that they are in charge of. Whoever it turns out to be, the defensive coaches are ready, willing and able to bring the Vikings back to prominence – which will be needed to compete with the Packers, Bears and Lions, both in the short-term and long-term.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.