Minnesota Vikings' Leslie Frazier Has the Demeanor of a Winner

Tim Arcand@@TArcandCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2011

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 02:  Interim head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the bench while playing the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on January 2, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 20-13.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It was the early 1990's when I had the honor to meet a real class act. It was late in January, and I had to catch a flight to Minneapolis from San Francisco. As I sat at the gate waiting for my flight, I recognized another University of Minnesota alum enter and take a seat.

I walked over and introduced myself to Tony Dungy as a Minnesota Vikings fan and a U of M graduate. I expressed my appreciation for the job he had done with the Vikings defense. 

At the time he was the defensive coordinator, and the Vikings had the top-ranked defense. He stood up, shook my hand and thanked me.

He explained that he was returning to Minneapolis after scouting the East-West Shrine game. We chatted for a few minutes, and I walked away thinking what a genuinely sincere person Dungy was.

Fast forward to 2011.

Following the Vikings' practice this morning I had the honor of covering Leslie Frazier's press conference. While I didn't get to have a private chat with Frazier, I saw a lot of similarities between him and Dungy.

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A soft spoken person, Frazier opened his press conference noting "the appreciation we get from our fans, I mean, a walk-through practice on a Saturday morning, to have this many people show up. Our support here has been terrific, which really solidifies in my mind we did the right thing by waiting to come down to Mankato to have training camp."

Can Leslie Frazier follow the success of another former Vikings defensive coordinator.
Can Leslie Frazier follow the success of another former Vikings defensive coordinator.Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

When linebacker Chad Greenway was asked earlier in camp about the transition from Frazier to new defensive coordinator Fred Pagnac he noted, "well, more yelling for sure."  

Frazier and Dungy have a lot more in common. Both played defensive back in the NFL, Dungy for three seasons with the Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and Frazier for five years with the Chicago Bears.

They both followed their playing days progressing from defensive backfield coaches in the NFL to eventually making their way to Minnesota as defensive coordinators.

Dungy left Minnesota in 1996 after being named the Tampa Bay head coach. After six seasons he would move to Indianapolis where he led the 2006 Colts to a Super Bowl championship. 

Here's hoping that Frazier can follow not only the success of that of Dungy's, but of another former Vikings defensive coordinator as well—Mike Tomlin, head coach of Pittsburgh, and bring Minnesota its first Super Bowl victory.