Frazier focusing on playoffs, not interviews

Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said his focus this week is back on Dallas and not on the interviews he conducted last week for a couple of vacant head-coaching jobs. One of those jobs, with the Buffalo Bills, still remains open.

One week after his first head-coaching interview of 2010, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier wanted to focus on playoff preparations for the Dallas Cowboys, but he couldn't completely avoid the questions in his first press conference since interviewing for two head-coaching jobs last week.

Frazier interviewed last Thursday for the Buffalo Bills' head-coaching vacancy and two days later interviewed for the same position with the Seattle Seahawks. Those interviews came during a three-day time span that Minnesota coach Brad Childress gave his staff off because the Vikings had a bye for the first round of the playoffs.

"One of the things I really wanted to do throughout this week is put all of my energy and focus into Dallas, and what happened a week ago is really in my rear-view mirror," Frazier said. "My focus is really on trying to get our guys ready to play on Sunday. There will be a time to talk about what happened a week ago, but I don't know this is necessarily the appropriate time."

Childress said the timing of Frazier's interviews didn't distract from the team's playoff preparations.

"He doesn't have to worry about taking away his focus one way or the other," Childress said on Sunday. "Our coaches had a little bit of downtime there, and for him to be able to do that (interview) on Saturday was great, and on Thursday was great, and we're right back onto it, so he's kind of out of the (potential head coach interview) loop here for the time being."

Frazier originally turned down the opportunity to interview for the Seattle job because the Seahawks were reportedly closing in on a deal to hire USC head coach Pete Carroll and may have just been looking to fulfill the requirements of the NFL's "Rooney Rule" that requires at least one minority candidate be interviewed for head-coaching positions.

"I think the Rooney Rule is a good rule. I know what the intent of it is," Frazier said. "You just hope that everybody abides by it and takes it for what it was meant to be. I'm sure that the commissioner and Mr. Rooney and others in our league are taking a hard look and just making sure that it's being followed to the letter. Hopefully that's the case."

The Rooney Rule is named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who hired former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin in 2007, who, like Frazier, is African-American.

As it turned out, the Seahawks hired Carroll days later, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he was satisfied the requirements of the Rooney Rule were upheld. NFL rules prohibit the Bills from having further contact with Frazier until the Vikings' season ends.

"I have not talked with anybody from the organization since I visited with them, so I have no idea where they are in their search," Frazier said.

"I'd like to get a third ring. It's not hard for me to move on from (the interviews). Not hard at all, I promise you. These opportunities are just so rare in the National Football League, players and coaches. For me, just to be in this situation again and know that we're just a couple of games from reaching our goal as a team, no, it's not hard at all, believe me."

The fact that Frazier has received so much interest is hardly a surprise. He was considered a finalist for the Denver and St. Louis jobs last year and has interviewed for a few other head-coaching jobs in the past three years as well.

"He's been a great coach and he's been great since we came in here," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "I think that system has been proven to win, so hopefully he'll get an opportunity. You always want to see guys take a step forward in their careers. We want to win here, but if he goes somewhere else that's great for him but that's not our focus."

Childress is used to losing his defensive coordinators since Tomlin left after just one season as defensive coordinator for the Vikings.

"You know you have the right guys on your staff with people wanting to talk to them. They've excelled in their field and wish them nothing but the best of luck," Childress said. "As Leslie knows, I'll help him in any way that's possible for me to help him."

INJURY UPDATES

  • Vikings FB Naufahu Tahi was added to the injury report with a back injury and didn't participate Thursday. The six that were limited Wednesday remained limited on Thursday –G Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), DT Jimmy Kennedy (thumb), P Chris Kluwe (back), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (quadriceps), DT Pat Williams (elbow) and CB Antoine Winfield (foot).

  • For the Cowboys, RB Marion Barber (knee) was limited. T Marc Colombo (ankle), S Gerald Sensabaugh (thumb) LB DeMarcus Ware (wrist/back) and S Patrick Watkins (knee) practiced fully.


    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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