The Minnesota Vikings coach isn't one to show his emotions, or his true feelings, to the outside world. During a wild finish against the Baltimore Ravens, FOX commentators talked about the drastic differences in emotions exuding from Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Frazier.
You feel each tense moment in Harbaugh's actions: bending, twisting, working the refs, shouting at players. On the opposite side is Frazier, contemplative and surely sorting through a range of emotions with the game in front of him, not the least of which were several questionable calls (OK, let's be honest, they were brutal, wrong and cost the Vikings a chance to kneel down on the ball for the win, but in a game that meant little to the Vikings' playoff hopes, it was hard to get too bent on a bad officiating performance).
The game might have had significant meaning for Frazier's future, however. The Vikings have shown time and again this season they are good enough to play with division contenders in the NFC and AFC. They even played right along with the team considered the best in the NFL – the Seattle Seahawks – before Christian Ponder gifted that one away in the second half.
Still, the Vikings have also shown they aren't closers. Not this year, anyway, and that leads to wondering if Frazier and his coaching staff are good enough in the battle of the minds, whether that is in-game adjustments, making the right calls in personnel, or week-before preparations.
This much I know: Frazier is a top-notch human being in the way he treats people. He is patient beyond comprehension, an incredible quality for interpersonal communication. But is he too patient with his players and coaches? In some instances, yes.
He stuck with Ponder – for the most part – until the postseason was lost. He stuck with defenders that struggled at times. But through it all, his players have stuck with him, too, and that shouldn't be underestimated as owners and management decide Frazier's future.
"He's definitely been holding things together," receiver Greg Jennings said. "As far as the future, I don't know – just like from a player's standpoint, we don't know, we don't control that. That all goes from upstairs, down. All we can do is control what we do and that's what he's been doing as a head coach, and making sure that he's been hitting the points of emphasis. It's about us executing."
Time and again, NFL coaches preach about the fine line between a win and a loss – a play here or there – and no one knows that more than the 2013 Minnesota Vikings. They have lost four games and tied another when they led with less than a minute left.
Was it execution or was it schematic failure? The ultimate judgment on that is for better football minds with more skin in the game, but it's likely some combination of both.
There is an emerging philosophy, however, that the Vikings' schemes, especially the Tampa-2 base defense, are becoming antiquated. That is Frazier's baby but run by defensive coordinator Alan Williams.
"We've been in all these ballgames for the most part, aside from a couple. They've been just tight games that we just fall short on," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "Obviously, we've talked. It's not the effort. It's not that. We're preparing well. We're practicing well. We're just not making the critical plays at that time to get off the field or to drive on offense or to do whatever to win a game, basically. So I think we're all on board."
Greenway credited the locker-room leadership for helping players stay together while knowing that little playoff hope remained in November. He said players hold each other accountable in meetings, but there has been a remarkable lack of public finger-pointing between players, and between coaches and players.
Looking at the mess with the Washington Redskins' quarterback, coaching and ownership imbroglio, there is something to be said for the way the Vikings have handled a trying situation.
For whatever reason, quite possibly his tangible and intangible leadership qualities, Frazier hasn't lost his players.
"I think that you would see no fight in the guys within this locker room (if Frazier lost the players)," Jennings said. "The one thing I can say about guys in this locker room is we stick together like glue. No matter what the outcome has been, we fought. Last week after the game, hard loss – some would say it's a devastating loss – the vibe in the locker room amongst the guys that fought throughout that game, it wasn't like ‘Oh my gosh;' it was more like ‘Man, that one got away.' No matter what the outcome, we all take ownership in a loss or win."
Two out of three losing seasons doesn't bode well for Frazier's chances to keep the job, but there are several factors to consider.
All involved know the NFL is a results-oriented business. Wins matter most and the Vikings have been on the losing end more often than not because of last-minute collapses. What does that mean for the future of Frazier and his staff (if they are connected together)?
It's likely not good news for Frazier, but it's also not a slam dunk that he's gone. The dynamics are more complicated than meets the eye.
"It's been big. I've got this chance to really contribute these last few weeks and get multiple carries. It's been good," Gerhart said. "It's fun to help the team and to play pretty well.
"… I know my chances are going to be limited playing behind (Peterson), but when you get a chance, try to make the most of it."
Greenway said McCoy is "unbelievable, Reggie Bush-like … just a matchup nightmare."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.