The Leslie Frazier era for the Minnesota Vikings officially ended Monday morning at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Frazier was fired after the Vikings had completed a disappointing 5-10-1 season with a win over the Detroit Lions in the final game ever played at Mall of America Field.
Frazier's dismissal has been received with mixed reviews in the Twin Cities. On the one hand, his 21-32-1 record over parts of four seasons simply isn't good enough. While it might be impossible to find anyone who has a bad word to say about Frazier, his kind demeanor and placid comportment only work in football if you're winning. The Vikings weren't.
Fair or not, that's the simple reality of the NFL.
The argument can be made that Frazier was forced to coach the Vikings with one arm tied behind his back, or rather, Christian Ponder's right arm tied behind his back. Ponder was general manager Rick Spielman's bold move in the 2011 draft, and it's Frazier who's losing his job because that bold move turned out to be a bust.
Obviously, the Vikings' current problems run far deeper than just at quarterback. The truth of the matter is, however, that quarterback is by far the most important position in the NFL. It's always been that way, and it is more than ever currently, with the rules more than favoring passers and receivers.
Great quarterbacks can help mask a team's flaws (see: Rodgers, Aaron), while bad quarterbacks only help reveal them.
And so Spielman will now have the opportunity to select a new head coach and presumably take another crack at finding a franchise quarterback.
While all of the immediate attention will be on what prospective new pieces the Vikings add to the mix, Spielman already has his hands full in deciding what to do with the players he has on hand.
Let's take a look at five players on the Vikings roster whom Spielman must re-evaluate heading into the offseason. These aren't free agents, just contracts that need second looks when assessing the Vikings' future.