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Frazier Named Defensive Coordinator

Posted Jan 6, 2014

The swift and impressive construction of Lovie Smith’s staff continues as former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier comes aboard to direct the defense

  • Leslie Frazier, most recently the Vikings' Head Coach from 2011-13, first built a dominant defense in Minnesota
  • Frazier's defenses have been particularly good at pressuring opposing quarterbacks
  • Frazier was a key member of the Indianapolis staff in 2006 that led the Colts to a Super Bowl title
Lovie Smith has Jeff Tedford to run his offense and now he has Leslie Frazier to call the shots on defense.

Like Tedford, Frazier was most recently a head coach – the former at the University of California and the latter with the Minnesota Vikings – but Frazier also has a sparkling resume as a coordinator. Before taking over the Vikings’ head job midway through the 2010 season, Frazier had built a dominant defense in Minnesota.

Frazier originally joined the Vikings as defensive coordinator in 2007. From that point through the end of this past season, Minnesota led the NFL in sacks with 297 and had the second-most forced fumbles with 114. In that same span, Minnesota allowed the second-lowest total of rushing yards (89.8 per game) and the third-lowest average per rush (3.7). The Vikings led the NFL in rush defense in both 2007 and 2008.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Leslie Frazier and I consider myself very fortunate to have him on my staff,” said Smith. “Leslie is one of the best defensive coaches in the NFL and he has a long track record of helping players reach their full potential. He transformed Minnesota’s defense into one of the league’s elite units during his time there and I look forward to working with him to do the same here in Tampa Bay.”

- Leslie Frazier's Viking defenses led the NFL in stopping the run in 2007 and 2008
Frazier inherits a Buccaneers defense that features two of the 12 players selected to the Associated Press All-Pro First Team in 2013, linebacker Lavonte David and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Frazier, entering his 16th season as an NFL coach, comes to the Buccaneers after spending three full seasons (2011-13) as the Minnesota Vikings head coach. In 2012, Frazier set a Vikings record, improving the team’s win total by seven victories, earning a Wild Card berth. Frazier originally joined Minnesota in 2007 as defensive coordinator, before adding assistant coach duties (2008-10) and finally being promoted to interim head coach for the final six games of the 2010 season.

Under Frazier, the Vikings pass rush flourished, recording the most sacks in the NFL (297) and the second-most forced fumbles (114). In 2009, the team led the NFL in sacks While in Minnesota, Frazier helped defensive end Jared Allen record 101 sacks, the most in the NFL during that time - highlighted by his 2011 campaign, when he set a Vikings team record with 22.0 sacks, 0.5 shy from the NFL record of 22.5.

The Vikings defense was one of the best in the league at stopping the run under Frazier, allowing only 94.8 rushing yards per game, the second-lowest total in the NFL, including 2007 (74.1 ypg) and 2008 (76.9 ypg), when they were the No.1 run defense in the league. The Vikings run defense was led by defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams, each of whom earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro Honors under Frazier’s guidance.

Prior to joining Minnesota, Frazier worked in Indianapolis, as a defensive assistant (2005) and assistant to the head coach/defensive backs coach (2006), helping lead the 2006 Super Bowl Championship team. Frazier helped safety Bob Sanders earn a Pro Bowl berth, the first Colts defensive back to play in the game since 1971. Frazier helped the Colts defense to an 11th overall ranking, after having ranked 29th in yards per game in 2004.

Frazier came to Indianapolis from Cincinnati, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2003-04. He entered the NFL in 1999 as the Philadelphia defensive backs coach, a position he held for four seasons. During his time with the Eagles, he helped cornerback Troy Vincent earn four Pro Bowl berths, while safety Brian Dawkins earned three trips. In his final three seasons with the team, Philadelphia advanced to the playoffs each year, including back-to-back NFC Championship game appearances.

Frazier spent 11 seasons as a collegiate coach before entering the NFL, getting his coaching start as the inaugural head coach at Trinity International, a position he held from 1988-96. Taking over the new program, Frazier helped lead the team to two Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference titles. The school later named the football field in his honor. Following his stint as head coach at Trinity, Frazier spent two seasons (1997-98) as the defensive backs coach at the University of Illinois.

An All-American defensive back at Alcorn State, Frazier played six seasons for the Chicago Bears (1981-86), including starting on the 1985 Super Bowl championship team and leading the team in three consecutive seasons (1983-85). He and his wife, Gale, have three children: Kieron, Chantel and Corey.