The Vikings decided familiarity would be the primary selling point in choosing Leslie Frazier as their new defensive coordinator.
Frazier, who incorporated the Bears 46 defense of Buddy Ryan into the Eagles defensive scheme from 1999-2002, was also a devotee of the Cover-2 defense favored by Tony Dungy in Indianapolis. His wealth of experience in what the Vikings defense is running and his familiarity with Brad Childress and his plans for the Vikings won out – ending an 18-day hiatus in which the Vikings didn't have a defensive coordinator.
Frazier said Thursday at a press conference at Winter Park that the Vikings have one of the league's best run defenses, which he thinks will be the building blocks to the future.
"With the success that this defense had against the run, that's something you want to just maintain and try to help them improve on what they did from a pass defense standpoint," Frazier said. "If we can do that, you get the best of both worlds. I'm hoping that I'll be able to add that to our defense here."
As the decision to replace Mike Tomlin dragged on, it became apparent that the Vikings were looking outside the organization to find his successor. With in-house candidates Karl Dunbar and Fred Pagac as options, the delay seemed to signal that the Vikings were looking at a candidate that was with either the Colts or the Bears. By league rules, once a team has begun a playoff run, other NFL teams can't pursue an assistant coach that is under contract until that team is eliminated from the playoffs.
The hiring of Frazier sets up the Vikings for the trip back to Indianapolis next weekend for the annual college Combine. Frazier is expected to hit the ground running and will likely have a hand in both the free agent period to bring in players that best fit his scheme and in making recommendations about the Vikings' draft strategy.
While it took almost three weeks to fill the defensive coordinator vacancy, many at Winter Park believe the wait was worth it. They got the man they want and, perhaps more importantly, got someone that can continue the progress the Vikings defense made in 2006.
* Childress said he wanted to "retract" a statement made at his season-ending press conference that the team wouldn't look at upgrading at quarterback in the draft. The potential that Brady Quinn might be available with the seventh pick could have been part of that, but Childress added that the Vikings may not be the suitor for Jeff Garcia, saying in a radio interview that "there was enough furor over a 37-year-old quarterback this year" – a reference to Brad Johnson.
* The Vikings have the Bears to thank for their Pro Bowl largesse. Pat Williams was added to the NFC roster thanks to Tommie Harris being sidelined with a serious hamstring tear. Matt Birk, who made the NFC roster, will start this weekend thanks to a knee injury by starter Olin Kreutz.
* The Bears re-signed former Vikings tight end Richard Angulo.
Frazier Worth the Wait
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