As the Vikings travel to Philadelphia ahead of their Sunday night matchup against the Eagles, interim head coach Leslie Frazier will be returning to a city in which he spent four seasons as the defensive backs. Frazier worked for the Eagles from 1999-2002, and was present at the beginning of the Andy Reid era.
Frazier saw how Reid changed the culture in Philadelphia, and has nothing but good thoughts as he looks back at his time with the Eagles.
""I'm just looking forward to seeing some old friends,"" Frazier said. ""We had so many good memories (in Philadelphia), just a lot of fond memories from some very successful days there.""
No one coach made a bigger impact on Frazier's career than the late Jim Johnson. Frazier said that his defense in Minnesota is very much a factor of having worked for Johnson in Philadelphia, and that the great defensive coordinator affected his life both on and off the field.
""Jim (Johnson) had such an impact on my career and on me as a person,"" Frazier said. ""My philosophy on defense intersects with some of the things I learned from Jim. There are many days when I was standing on the sidelines as a defensive coordinator where I thought about how Jim would handle this. I appreciated his friendship so much and I learned so much from my time there with him.
""He was one of those people during the season that I'd call and we'd converse about different things and different teams we were playing. I miss that, I miss it a lot.""
Frazier is 2-2 as interim head coach, and will look to make an impression these last two games leading into an offseason of much uncertainty in Minnesota. As he looks to solidify his role with the Vikings, Reid will be looking to add to his legacy in Philadelphia as the Eagles march on towards a likely berth in the NFL playoffs.
Looking back, Reid has only fond memories of his time spent with Frazier. And while he would rather it not have come at the expense of his good friend Brad Childress, Reid thinks that Frazier has earned his shot through years of hard work and dedication.
""As good of a coach as (Frazier) is, he's an even better person,"" Reid said Friday. ""I'm glad he got this opportunity – I wish it were under different circumstances – but he's well deserving of the opportunity to be a head football coach in the National Football League. He's busted his tail to put himself in that position and conducted himself the right way…I'm very happy for him.""
Sunday night, the two friends will face each other for the first time as head coaches.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 2:00 p.m., December 24