If Leslie Frazier is Fired, Who Replaces Him as Minnesota Vikings Head Coach?

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20:  Head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings on the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 20, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has won just five of his 19 games since taking over the Vikings job with six games remaining last season, but it appears as if Frazier has been informed privately that he'll be back coaching the Vikings in 2012.

With the Vikings on pace to have their worst record in franchise history this season, the news of Frazier's job security might comes as a surprise to some. 

However, you have to consider that the Wilfs are already paying Brad Childress to not coach the Vikings. If they fired Frazier after this season, they'd be paying Childress, Frazier and the new head coach in 2012. No owner wants to be paying three guys for a job that needs just one. 

Of course, we've seen crazier things happen in the NFL. Job security one day doesn't mean you'll have it the next. There's plenty of examples of that over the last decade to think that Frazier's seat isn't as secure as the report will lead you to believe.

The Vikings are also in desperate need of a new stadium, and losing in the present doesn't help getting a deal done for the future. The Wilfs could panic and can Frazier in hopes of getting a big-name head coach to help facilitate movement on the stadium.  

If the Vikings do choose to fire Frazier (for the record, I think there is very little chance he is let go), the following coaches could be candidates to fill his position:

Jon Gruden: Gruden is exactly the kind of experienced, charismatic coach that could re-energize the Vikings franchise. He might be hard to pry from his announcing chair, however. 

Brian Billick: A former offensive coordinator for the Vikings during the late 90's, Billick has championship experience with the Ravens and an offensive mind to work with rookie quarterback Christian Ponder.  

Bill Cowher: Cowher will be a hot name for any team that needs a new head coach in 2012. However, he'll likely want more control over the franchise than the Wilfs are willing to allow. 

Mike Mularkey: The current offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, Mularkey would help with the progression of Ponder (he worked with Matt Ryan in Atlanta) and runs a system of offensive that would be well-suited for Adrian Peterson, the Vikings top offensive weapon.

Todd Bowles: Bowles is taking over the reigns in Miami for Tony Sparano, but that doesn't mean he'll be locked into the Dolphins next season. If Miami goes in another direction, Bowles' name will be worth a look from the Wilfs. He's interviewed for several head coaching jobs in recent years and comes from Bill Parcell's coaching tree.