When Percy Harvin, early in the offseason, expressed great displeasure with the Vikings organization and demanded a trade, Rick Spielman and Leslie Frazier had conversations with their star receiver that quickly made him change his tune.
Harvin recently said that his issues were rooted with players not really knowing their role within the offense, but that things were clarified and that he now thinks offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is doing a great job. Presumably, the Vikings brass were able to convince Harvin that things would be different in 2012 and that he would know exactly what type of role he would be asked to play… a huge one.
On one hand, Spielman and Frazier could be applauded for giving Harvin the tune up he needed to have the season he is currently having. On the other hand, however, some could argue that Spielman and Frazier may have empowered Harvin and showed a little too much favoritism towards him.
Now, we have another case in which the Vikings uber-talented have approached the coaching staff with hopes of increasing productivity by, for lack of a better term, undermining the original wishes of the coaching staff.
Kevin Williams and Jared Allen, following a horrible week two loss to the Colts, say they approached the coaching staff about “simplifying” the line calls on defense and letting the defensive line just do their thing.
“You know how sometimes, like a formation (will) come up, and they’ll be like, we wanted to do so and so to this formation and this to that formation?” Williams told 1500 ESPN. “Just let us go and work through it and play off of each other. That’s the best thing we’ve got going for us up front.”
“We just stopped trying to make a call for everything,” he continued. “The defensive front has been successful the last few years. We didn’t do a lot of trick ‘em stuff. We just lined up and went after people, and that’s basically what we were trying to get ‘em to do. Just take the reins off and let us go. We can take care of the rush. We don’t need to design stuff for the rush. Just let the guys go. We’ve all pretty much had experience rushing the quarterback and playing this defense. Just basically, let us go and we can handle it. We don’t need plays or schemes to handle what we’re doing up front.”
Williams is right in saying that the Vikings front line has had success in recent times. Their 62 sacks since the start of the 2011 season are tied for the most of all NFL teams. Frazier doesn’t seem to take a very rigid stance on his schemes, unlike previous head coach Brad Childress who was notorious for trying to force square pegs into round holes, and essentially acknowledges that the defense was getting too tricky.
“It’s huge for our players, for the coaches, to be able to generate that type of pressure without having to put the secondary under adverse situations,” Frazier said. “It was big. It increases our confidence. You go into your next ballgame feeling a lot better about your rush when that happens, especially against a team that throws it as much as the team we played last Sunday and you go into the game knowing that and the fact that we didn’t have to resort to a lot of pressures — it’s a big deal, and hopefully, it’ll be something we can continue.”
So, while some might view Frazier’s willingness to have players take control of how things are done, in the cases of the defensive line and Percy Harvin… there is little arguing with the results so far.
One thing that didn’t go well when control was given to the players, however, was the choice of music during the stretching portion of Friday’s practice.
“Gangnam Style” and “Party Rock Anthem” apparently drew some groans and jeers.
“There were a group of guys [who picked that],” Frazier said. “I don’t know if you’ll get a repeat. There were a lot of guys voicing their displeasure. So I don’t know if that will be repeated.”