MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings fired coach Leslie Frazier on Monday morning, one year after they made the playoffs and one day after they finished a 5-10-1 season.
After going 10-6 in 2012, the Vikings regressed this year, done in by a leaky defense and an inability to find stability at quarterback. Frazier finished 21-32-1 in three-plus seasons.
Frazier, 54, had one season remaining on his contract.
"We have tremendous respect and appreciation for Leslie and what he has done for the Minnesota Vikings," owner Zygi Wilf said in a statement distributed by the team. "He stepped in and established a strong positive culture here, and he has been the consummate professional as our head coach and in this community. Making this change is difficult but what we determined is best for the organization."
Wilf did not take questions at an afternoon news conference.
General manager Rick Spielman said the team planned to begin its coaching search immediately.
"That process will start this afternoon, and I expect to have interviews lined up over the next three or four days," Spielman said. "Timeline on putting a new head coach in place -- ideally, the situation you would like to have that done by the Senior Bowl. ... But that's not going to be the ultimatum. If it takes longer, we will do that."
Spielman also said he plans for an extensive search, which might have already begun.
Both of the Broncos' coordinators, Jack Del Rio on defense and Adam Gase on offense, are on the Vikings' radar, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Del Rio played linebacker for the Vikings, and Minnesota has been inquiring about Gase. The Vikings also have requested permission to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, league sources told Schefter.
The Cleveland Browns, who fired coach Rob Chudzinski on Sunday, have already formally asked for permission to interview Gase and Bowles.
Gase would prefer to wait until after the Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs before speaking with anyone, however.
The Broncos, with 606 points, set a single-season scoring record while quarterback Peyton Manning set league records for touchdown passes (55) and yards passing (5,477). Gase also has been lauded by many in the league for his work as the team moved toward a read option offense for Tim Tebow as well as his work with the team's receivers when he arrived on Josh McDaniels' staff in 2009.
Frazier talked with the team in what players termed an emotional meeting Monday morning, letting them know they could contact him if they ever needed anything.
After the meeting, many players talked as much about Frazier's influence on their lives as they did about what he did for them as a coach. Star running back Adrian Peterson, who said after each of the Vikings' last two games that he planned to talk to ownership in support of Frazier, declined comment in the locker room Monday.
"I'm going to call him as soon as I leave here," linebacker Erin Henderson said. "I'm sure he's probably got all kinds of stuff coming today, but I think it's important he knows how I really feel and how much I appreciate all he's done for me in all six years I have been here.