Former Vikings Head Coach Linked to Job With Packers

Matt LaFleur, Packers

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers watches action during an OTA practice session in May 2023.

The NFL coaching carousel never really stops, meaning coaches are interviewing for positions in one way or another long before they ever open.

That appeared to be the scenario this week with the Green Bay Packers, when the team hosted former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier for a couple of days following the league’s Accelerator Program, which is meant to provide leadership development and networking opportunities for female and minority coaches.

“After attending the NFL’s recent Accelerator Program in Minneapolis, former #Bills [assistant head coach] & [defensive coordinator] Leslie Frazier spent two days with the #Packers, is currently spending two days with the #Commanders, and is scheduled to spend two days with the #Giants after that to maintain dialogue,” Josina Anderson of CBS Sports tweeted on Thursday, June 1.

Leslie Frazier Could Replace Joe Barry as Packers Defensive Coordinator

Leslie Frazier

GettyFormer Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier looks on prior to an NFL game at Highmark Stadium in October 2022.

That Frazier was in Green Bay does not mean he will be hired by the organization, but it is an indicator that he will be considered for one of the team’s top positions should one open up.

Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry found himself in the hot seat after his high-priced defense underperformed last season, particularly against opposing rushing attacks. Barry actually went so far as to admit earlier this offseason that he didn’t expect to be back in the job in 2023.

Justis Mosqueda of SB Nation’s Acme Packing Co. on Thursday outlined a scenario in which Frazier, who has aspirations of becoming a head coach again, ends up running the Packers defense in 2024.

Beyond Frazier’s head coaching ambitions, though, the elephant in the room is that the Packers might be in the mix for a new defensive coordinator next January, a role that Frazier could fill if things don’t pan out for him on the head coaching front. As we’ve all noticed over the years, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur typically brings in coaches he has ties to in some way, and now Frazier has been added to the list.

If [Green Bay moves on from] Barry after the 2023 season, don’t be surprised if Frazier ends up on a short list of names that are candidates to be the next Packers defensive coordinator. If trends continue, LaFleur will want someone familiar in the foxhole with him, and Frazier’s short visit to Green Bay could have provided some answers to questions he had.

Leslie Frazier Has Long History of Success as NFL Defensive Coordinator

Leslie Frazier

GettyFormer Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier walks on the field ahead of an NFL game.

Frazier has all the chops, and more, that any team could want in a head coach, let alone a defensive coordinator.

He stepped into the Vikings top job for the final six games of 2010 and held the position of head coach in Minnesota through the 2013 season. The team produced a win/loss record of 21-32-1 during Frazier’s tenure, including a 10-6 campaign in 2012 that ended in a Wild Card Weekend loss to the Packers.

Frazier was the defensive coordinator in Minnesota for three and a half seasons before assuming the role of head coach. He also served as DC of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003 and 2004. After the Vikings dismissed Frazier, he went on to run defenses for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15) and the Buffalo Bills (2017-22).

Buffalo did not fire Frazier during the offseason, as he stepped away of his own accord. Now, at the age of 64, Frazier is looking for one last shot at an NFL head coaching gig, and he has a good chance to land it. However, if he doesn’t, he’d be a quality fit on the Packers’ sideline.

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